To commemorate World Environment Day, Papua New Guinea MP for Kundiawa Gembogl Muguwa Dilu is renewing calls for Japan to abort the plans to dump nuclear waste into the Pacific Ocean.

“We must keep our blue Pacific Ocean clean and free of all waste, including dangerous and highly toxic nuclear waste,” Dilu said.

He expressed that the Pacific Ocean is home to thousands of people and their livelihood and their economies depend heavily on the ocean.

“We cannot allow industrialised countries like Japan to dump waste from their nuclear reactors that produce electricity. We allow this one to go ahead and they will keep doing this and eventually the Pacific Ocean will no longer be safe for marine life and our people,” the MP said.

Dilu was the former deputy director for the Conservation Environment Protect Authority (CEPA) for the PNG Government for 10 years until his election as the MP.

He said Pacific people have grappled with environmental and health issues from the Cold-War-era nuclear testing in the region by the USA and France and this time, the worry is driven by someone closer to home.

Dilu said PNG must quickly come up with a country position on nuclear waste disposal because economies in Asia, including Japan, are moving away from fossil fuels energy generation to nuclear power programs, which are viewed as carbon-free energy source.

“Even Japan, which had scrapped its nuclear power program after the 9.1 magnitude earthquake in 2011 caused the meltdown at the Fukushima nuclear power plant, is moving to reopen its nuclear power program. The operator of the Fukushima nuclear power plant has used water to cool down the damaged nuclear reactors and it is running out of space for the tons of radioactive contaminated water that has been collected on site,” he added.

“Tokyo Electric Power Company, the operator claims the water will be purified so that the concentration of radioactive substances will fall below regulatory standards, with the Japan Government backing up with its own claim that the measures it will take will ensure the waste is harmless,” Mr Dilu said.

“However opposition is mounting around the world and even in Japan from its own fishermen because expert opinion is that the data made available by the operator is inconclusive,” the MP said.

“Experts are concerned over the adequacy, accuracy and reliability of the data backing up the decision to release the water into the Pacific Ocean,” Dilu added.

He said waters of the Western and Central Pacific Ocean is home to much of the world’s tuna and this will be impacted, causing major problems for Pacific nations as fisheries remains a major source of income.

Dilu said given the trend in Asian economies with nuclear energy generation over fossil fuel, it would be wise for Japan to find another way to deal with its radioactive waste.

“I urge the PNG Government to stand with our Pacific brothers and sisters on this matter and do what is right for all of us,” he added.