GOVERNMENT OF TONGA

MEDIA RELEASE

(25 January, 2016)

“Va’epopua National Park”

In December 2015, Cabinet approved a community program, the Va’epopua National Park as part of the Government’s initiative to clean-up and beautify the waterfront, envisaged to be a recreational site for the public and the people of the community.

The proposed Va’epopua National Park is constructed at the site, previously used and known in the past as the Tukutonga Rubbish Dump, situated along the seafront of Popua.

The works to date are subject to planning and design led by the responsible ministries of Government and  involves clearing, filling and leveling of ground surface, drainage, and transformation of the once-environmentally hazardous site into a recreational public park for the people of Tonga including tourists. The responsible ministries are also tasks to ensure strict adherence to relevant legislations and regulations.

The total area of the Park is approximately ten (10) acres. The mount in the center takes up three (3) acres. The remaining mangroves on the western edge of the Park area covered a space of three thousand three hundred (3,300) square meters. These mangroves had been questioned by a few that its removal is contrary to previous directions from government to conserve and protect mangroves. It is important for the public to be informed that the basis of this direction is to ensure that all mangroves that plays a significant role in promoting a healthy environment and the public at large shall be untouched, protected and conserved.

As one would have observed and assessed the status and functions played by the remaining mangroves at the site. The general assessment will be, the area was badly polluted with litters, plastics and have become a nesting grounds for mosquitoes and obviously unsanitary for nearby settlements. Given its appearance, one can determine that no edible wildlife or fishes can be found in these mangroves. These mangroves was once on the shoreline, but was cut off by the adjacent roads and the seawall several decades ago so was its environmental functions. This clean-up initiative allows the replacement of the pollution housing mangroves with green grass, shaded trees and resting areas and facilities for the public overall.

Protected public lands such as national parks can play an important economic and social role for local communities and the public at large.

-ENDS-

Issued by the: The Prime Minister’s Office, P.O. Box 62, Nuku’alofa, Tonga. Tel: (676) 24 644 Fax: (676) 23 888; For media enquiries- Email: pressoffice@pmo.gov.toWebsite: www.pmo.gov.to

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