The Papua New Guinea Government is still in bilateral talks with the Japanese government over concerns that Japan might release one million tons of radioactive waste into the Pacific Ocean.
The issue was raised again on the floor of Parliament on Friday by Kundiawa- Gembogl MP Muguwa Dilu, who stated that this was against the London Convention and Protocol of 1996, which was against the dumping of nuclear waste into the ocean.
Dilu said the disposal of the radioactive waste from Hiroshima into the Pacific Ocean would potentially endanger the Oceania region’s marine ecosystems as well as affecting the fisheries industry and the blue carbon marketing opportunity Papua New Guinea was beginning to tap into.
“What the Japanese government is trying to do is against international law as well as the London Convention against the dumping of nuclear waste,” he said.
“Our country benefits from about K1 billion (US$284 million) that is generated through the fishing industry as revenue every year, and it comes from the ocean.
“What’s at stake here is the marine ecosystem that supports the lives of fish in our region where we conduct our fishing activities in, and the blue economy or the carbon marketing opportunity that our country is about to tap into.
“There must be clear conversations between both our government and the Japanese government on the issue, and if possible stop Japan from dumping its waste into the Pacific Ocean.”
Meanwhile, Foreign Affairs Minister Justin Tkatchenko said there were previous meetings between Fisheries Minister Jelta Wong and Japanese authorities to look into the matter and prevent the dumping of this hazardous waste into the ocean.
Tkatchenko said he had also spoken to former Australian foreign affairs Minister Julia Bishop on the issue which the Australian government was tracking closely.
“There has been an ongoing discussion between the Japanese, Australian and PNG governments on this particular issue, which Japan has not come clear on yet,” Tkatchenko said.
“However, the Japanese government has stated that the waste has been converted into clean-purified water, and is not contaminated and therefore will not be harmful to the ocean environment,” he added.
Tkatchenko added that the matter had been brought before the Pacific Islands Forum in which all leaders had agreed that there needed to be continuous dialogue between Pacific countries and Tokyo.
SOURCE: THE NATIONAL/PACNEWS