SIMON PENTANU MP
KIETA - I like mangroves. As coastal kids we spent a lot of time playing in the open and grew up around mangroves.
It was fun playing hide and seek and swimming and fishing in the groves, and jumping into the water from he tall trees.
Mangroves are prolific growers and don’t need tending. But they can be uprooted and cleared in a matter of only hours and days.
It is only recently we have come to accept and realise, environmentally speaking, that mangroves have suffered from reckless development.
This is a Pacific-wide concern, no less so in Papua New Guinea, including Bougainville.
The protection and conservation of our mangroves is critical to maintain quality in the ecosystem that will continue to support us to expand human settlement in a sustainable way.
It is an irony we don’t often realise. If you are familiar with the different species, a dead mangrove provides building materials and firewood for coastal and island populations.
The seeds provide excellent variety to the local cuisine.
Bougainville has yet to enact environmental impact legislation, although it is given a beautiful mention and acknowledgement in the Constitution.
No doubt legislation is forthcoming. The Toroama government has foreshadowed a whole raft of legislation in the current parliament.
Panguna was an environmental protest. We must learn and take heed of the many lessons from that.
We are a society where the bulk of our population depends on the land and its resources for sustainability.
Laws on environmental protection are very important.