Squatters in the Solomon Islands National Botanical Gardens in Honiara are putting the city's water supply and ecology at risk according to the city clerk in the capital.

The gardens are a protected "forest in the city" providing conservation habitat for rare birds, insects and plants said Charles Kelly.

However, the gardens' flora and fauna are put in danger by squatters who also risk fouling the town water supply which draws from the gardens' reservoir said the city clerk.

There are several people at any time living in temporary shelters, said Mr Kelly, which are made from materials scavenged from within the gardens.

They come from other islands and provinces, he said, looking for jobs, education and medical treatment.

"Honiara is a melting pot for the whole country. These were mostly young people and people migrating into Honiara. So what the council is doing is - not by force - but we give them adequate notice, ample notice, that they cannot reside or build. So it's a very normal exercise."

Charles Kelly said the 19 hectare gardens also provided an important tourist attraction, as well as recreation and education facilities.

He said the city of Honiara appreciates central government support for its efforts to move squatters out of the National Botanical Gardens.

Council officers are in contact with the squatters, according to Mr Kelly, and are now serving them with notices to leave and remove their shelters.

Central government has issued a notice asking the "illegal settlers" to respect this action.

Mr Kelly said the council is grateful for central government endorsing this action and the support of other agencies.

"The South Pacific Community, plus the Ministry of the Environment, we're all teaming up to work in there and look after the area and the council is very appreciative of the Ministry also participating with the council to look after that area," said Charles Kelly.

Source: RNZ