No fix on Vila hospital pollution of lagoon
Water resources officials are still pushing to have the Vila Central Hospital’s sewage system repaired, as hospital waste continues to pollute Nambawan Lagoon on Efate.
In November 2020, the Water Waste Taskforce issued a penalty notice to the Ministry of Health for the hospital to stop dumping waste into the lagoon.
But, the Acting Director for Curative and Hospital Services, Dr Sereana Natuman, says the hospital has been unable to contract a company to make the repairs.
The Water Resources Department 2020 penalty notice said it would fine the health department VT5 million if the hospital’s waste problem was not fixed.
But as of today, no work has been done to fix the leakages.
Erie Sami from the Water Waste Taskforce Committee, says the Vila Central Hospital’s waste is seriously polluting the lagoon.
Mr Sami says waste water, blood and chemicals are leaking into the lagoon from the hospital’s sewage system.
“We have spoken many times to the hospital about this but no action has been taken,” Mr Sami said.
“It is an unresolved issue and it is now time we enforced the notice we have issued to the responsible authority.
“The Government needs to ensure it has its face clean before it starts looking at compliance and enforcement in the private sector.”
The hospital says it is concerned about the issue but is unable to find a contractor to do the job.
“It is a big issue that I am very worried about,” Dr Natuman told VBTC.
“Even though budget has been allocated for the repairs, I cannot confirm when work will start or reveal the timeframe of the works.”
Last year, the hospital’s Office of the Acting Director said they had requested VT1.5 million from donor partners to temporarily fix the problem.
The request for aid money was submitted via the Department of Strategic Policy and Aid Coordination because hospital authorities say there was no money in the Government’s 2021 National Budget for the work.
The water department says it is working with other stakeholders to push the Ministry of Health to take the necessary steps to fix the drainage problems.
Hospital authorities did not comment on the issue of whether they would need to pay a penalty.