Niue is to have its pesticide contaminated soil removed as part of a project on "Improved regional pesticides management", between the Food and Agriculture Organisation and the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP).

This was announced by Dr Kevin Helps, a senior officer with FAO at a side event during the 22nd SPREP meeting in Apia, Samoa.

This activity is part of a larger project which focuses on many different aspects of Pacific pesticide management that is a partnership between the SPC, FAO and SPREP.

According to Dr. Helps of FAO, these contaminated sites in the Pacific "need to be excavated, cleaned up, and dealt with."

"Dealing with pesticide management in the Pacific is an important environmental issue," said Dr David Haynes, SPREP's pollution and waste management adviser.

"Better management will help protect the Pacific's terrestrial and marine environments into the future."

There will also be assessments of contaminated sites in Samoa, Fiji and Tonga as part of this regional project. These assessments will allow Dr. Helps and his team evaluate the sites to prioritise their remediation.

The removal of contaminated soil in Niue will provide a demonstration of how this will be carried out in other countries in the region.

"There were some concerns as to the contamination of the local water lens. That's why we approached UNEP and FAO to see if there would be any assistance in trying to remediate some of the sites," said Sauni Tongatule the Director of the Department of Environment of Niue.