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More action needed to protect natural resources – Lands Minister

Radio & TV Tonga, Nuku’alofa, 17/06/2020

The Minister for Lands, Survey, and Natural Resources has called for better action to protect Tonga’s natural resources especially land, sand, underground water, minerals, and the ocean resources.

Lord Ma’afu has said the ministry lacks the resources to constantly patrol the coastal areas to prevent the theft of sand from the beaches around the country but they are trying to engage the district and town officers to be able to carry out these patrols and report any illegal extraction of sand so the ministry could take action against the offenders.

The minister says with the country’s population increasing and more and more people moving into urban areas, the ministry is working together with related stakeholders to ensure specific areas are allocated to cater for agricultural activities amongst the new settlements.

Another issue raised during deliberations on the Ministry’s vote in the Whole House Committee was the increase in issues regarding the inheritance of land which has seen many families divided over the heir’s decision for the land that the rest of the family are not in agreement with and this has led to a few social problems in the community.

The ministry is also in discussion with two companies regarding mining in Tonga’s waters.

The other issues raised by MP’s with the ministry was the location of cemeteries on the coastal area, which are extremely vulnerable to erosion, as evident from the impact of the king tides during TC Harold on the coastal areas of ‘Eua. The minister had responded that work on this issue was still being carried out in order to find a suitable resolution.

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