Tuvalu May Move On To Foreign Soil 10 May 1990 (29 years now)
Tuvalu may move on to foreign soil (See comment for proof the islands are in fact growing)
FUNAFUTI: A leading politician from the Pacific island state of Tuvalu has suggested the outside world
consider donating rock and soil to his tiny low-lying nation in a bid to beat possible rising sea levels from
the greenhouse effect.
In an interview on the capital atoll of Funafuti, Works and Communications Minister Ionatana Ionatana said he believed scientific predictions that Tuvalu could be swamped within 40 to 50 years. He said few ofTuvalu’s 9000 people would want to leave the country, which is made up of eight inhabited coral atolls more than 1000km north of Fiji.
“We must acquire material to build up the islands,” he said. “How else can we ensure the safety of this nation?” Mr Ionatana said a study was needed to ensure the concept, which he had yet to put to the country’s Cabinet, was viable. Other possibilities included the sacrifice of outer islands to add to the size of more populated ones.
Soil dredged from the bottom of lagoons could also be used. This was being examined currently as part of another land reclamation project, funded by Australian aid, to fill in large pits left by US troops who needed material to build Funafuti’s airstrip in World War II. However, Mr Ionatana said he favoured the idea of importation of foreign rock and soil using bulk carrier ships which now ply the Pacific with minerals and other goods.
“We should start doing that right now. Within 10 years the islands may be high enough to safely ac-
commodate our people from the rising sea level. If you start now, I think it’s not too late.” Although he admitted the idea would be a massive engineering and logistical exercise, he suggested the area contained by Funafuti’s 18-by-20km lagoon could be filled in to a height of 10m above its current water level, giving the country ample room.
He said that without a solution to the greenhouse problem, the Polynesian people of Tuvalu would have
to leave, possibly to an island donated by Australia or New Zealand.