Deteriorating section of the Lae-Madang Highway
The slurry pipeline belonging to Chinese Nickel Company; MCC Ramu NiCo, is causing much disorders to communities living along the Lae-Madang highway which the pipeline runs adjacent to.
As much as the leaks and recent bursting pipes, people are not happy with how the pipeline sits along the road, which runs right through their food gardens. The placement of the pipes from Kurumbukari mine site to Basamuk refinery has done nothing good for the people except destroy their food gardens.
Wasa Rita, a local from the area and a subsistence gardener claims the pipeline has affected their source of income. The pipeline has taken up much of the arable land that they use to plant food crops. Coupled with that is much of the landscape had to be changed to cater for the pipeline.
The pipeline was constructed without consideration of how it would affect the local communities living along the highway. Rita says they had no say in the whole process in building the pipeline.
In addition to that, landslip due to heavy downpour has caused one section of the pipeline along the highway to burst, spilling its contents onto food gardens and nearby rivers and creeks.
People have stopped drinking from the rivers since the incident and this has affected their lives in terms of clean drinking water. The chemical content from the leaking pipe has actually killed food crops in the gardens, causing fear and alarm amongst the villagers living along the highway.
Coupled with that is the treacherous condition of the highway, which is unfit for public use and could face closure.
Another local Watis Nara from Bibirie area along the highway said the adjacent placement of the pipeline to the road has directly contributed to the deterioration of the road. He stated the road was never in the condition it is now before the construction of the pipeline .
According to Nara, since the contruction of the pipeline, there have been numerous landslides along the highway, covering food gardens and destroying homes in most instances.
In all these, one can ask where does responsibility lay on the part of the Chinese company; Ramu Nico? Do they care one bit of the people they make millions from their land?
They simply do not care. All they care about is maximising profit despite the destruction done to the people, their environment and their livelihood.
Spillage from pipeline destroying the vegetation
Pipeline affected by natural landform changes
Wasa Rita far left and her extended family