SUMMARY INITIAL ENVIRONMENTAL EXAMINATION
A. Port of Suva Project Component
1. The Suva Port is the country's largest port in terms of incoming and outgoing containers handled within its facility. The cargo operations at its King's Wharf are carried out by Port Terminal Services Limited (PTL). The Maritime and Ports Authority of Fiji (MPAF) is the landlord of the port facilities and administer policies and port regulations.
2. Construction of the current wharf was completed in 1963. The wharf has since undergone severe damage from collision. These and the severe tropical marine environment have contributed to the early deterioration of the wharf. The Suva Port is currently degenerating with (i) an aged wharf apron not able to handle the current cargo requirements, (ii) wharf structure and its land-fill below minimum seismic standards, and (iii) insufficient storage space. Life expectancy of the current structure has been estimated to 2005. MPAF rehabilitate the existing structure to increase its usable life, and strengthen the wharf to accommodate anticipated traffic.
3. No major changes are proposed in the port's operations. This initial environmental examination (IEE) screens the possible environmental impacts due to construction works associated with the proposed rehabilitation Project and investigates existing operational impacts.
2. Description of the Project
4. The rehabilitation work for King's Wharf is estimated to take 34 months and will entail (i) civil works for maintenance repairs including rebuilding sides of longitudinal beams facing the seabed, restoring fender panels and their supports, rebuilding the southwest corner of the wharf, and repairing all cracked piles and damaged bridge beams; (ii) civil works for establishing a minimum seismic standard including sheet piles and rock anchors; (iii) civil works for wharf deck strengthening including bridge beams, wharf edge beams, and wharf deck overlay; (iv) civil works for reorientation of the container yard including regrading of pavements, moving of light towers, removal of sheds 2 and 4, reinstatement of pavement in locations of sheds 2 and 4; and (v) civil works for ship-to-shore sewerage. The following main activities will be undertaken to rehabilitate King's Wharf: (i) jack-hammering and chipping off deteriorating concrete, (ii) spraying on additional concrete, (iii) demolishing and reconstructing sections of the wharf, and (iv) replacing and/or thickening the concrete deck slab. The concrete replacement work will involve one or a combination of (i) microconcreting, (ii) spray concreting, (iii) concrete grouting of preformed structural members, and (iv) total reconstruction for small sections.
5. The Project will allow visiting ships to connect to the Suva sewerage line and dispose of their sewage directly into the Suva sewerage reticulation system.
3. Description of the Environment
6. Physical Resources. At all seasons, the predominant winds are the trade winds from the east or southeast and are generally moderate. Average temperatures vary only 3℃ to 4℃ between the coldest part of the year (July-August) and the warmest (January-February). The average rainfall on Viti Levu in the drier period averages 1,000-2,000 millimeter (mm), and in the wetter months, 1,800-2,600 mm. The marine surface current flows southwesterly through the islands. Tidal ranges are very small, neap tides having a mean range of 0.90 meters (m) and springs of 1.30 m. King's Wharf is within a second-generation seismic fault zone, a structural morphologic overprinting and parallel jointing of surfaces. The reactivation of the faults within the bedrock and slumping of the overlying sediments were partially responsible for the 1 953 earthquake and tsunami. Several major earthquakes have been recorded, the most significant were in Kadavu (1850) and Taveuni (1979), with another eight registered since 1850. The 1953 Suva earthquake was the most destructive in Fiji's history.
7. Ecological Resources. The current estimate of mangrove areas in the Fiji Islands is approximately 45,000 hectares (ha) with about 6 percent converted to other uses. Reefs are associated with all the island groups. Many of the reef systems are extensive and complex, and include barrier, fringing, and platform reefs. Reefs at Suva bay entrance provide good shelter for the harbor. Some mangrove stands are along the coastal line near to the harbor. These are in good condition. Extensive mangroves are found across the bay. Due to distance, port operations do not adversely affect the mangrove stands. At the harbor, water showed no indication of oil sheen or spills. The manufacturing industry in the Walu Bay area adjacent to the harbor has a larger contributory impact on the marine ecosystem than operations at King's Wharf.
8. Human Economic Development. King's Wharf is at the northern end of the capital's central business district. The Customs Department and other shipping/supplies companies are near the port, as are the Suva bus station and the municipal markets. The area near the wharf is quite congested with traffic at peak hours. Residential areas next to the bus station and market are about 1 kilometer (km) from the wharf. At the northern end of the wharf is Walu Bay. Adjacent to Walu Bay is a dedicated industrial area. Further north of King's Wharf is the Lami rubbish dump, which is built up on the foreshore area and serves the Suva and Lami areas. The dump does not have leacheate control systems or provision to protect the harbor waters from its pollutants. King's Wharf directly and indirectly provides employment for a large number of people. Any industry that imports and exports products from the Fiji Islands depends on King's Wharf or Lautoka Port.
4. Screening of Potential Environmental Impacts and Mitigation Measures
9. Potential environmental impacts were screened using the Environmental Guidelines for Selected infrastructure Projects of the Asian Development (ADB). The outcome was used to determine the scope of works associated with the construction and operation of the port. The screening process found no significant environmental impacts arising from the rehabilitation works of King's Wharf.
10. Construction Work. The construction phase will have localized impacts around the wharf, concrete removal, and concrete repair.
11. Concrete removal will create (i) concrete dust, (ii) spalls and debris, and (ii) noise. Jack-hammering will cause large- to medium-size pieces of concrete to fall into the sea under the wharf. Due to the minimal quantity of the falling concrete, and because the sea floor under the wharf consists of silts, the impact on the marine ecology will be minimal. Therefore, special mitigation measures will not be necessary. The quantity of dust from jack-hammering is not significant since the works will be done gradually. Most of the dust will float and/or be dissolved into the sea. The airborne dust will disperse relatively quickly. However, construction workers must wear protective eyewear and disposable dust protection mouth pieces during all construction activities below the wharf deck. These requirements will be stipulated in the construction contract. Noise from jack-hammering of concrete will be too far away from any residential areas, offices, or other social facilities to be considered significant. The construction workers must use protective ear-muffs.
12. Concrete repair work will involve (i) total repair of certain sections, (ii) sprayed concrete work, (iii) micro concrete work, and (iv) grouting of performed concrete members. Environmental impacts could arise from leaking of concrete products into the sea water in large quantities if, for instance, a primary beam fails immediately following grouting. Similarly, in applying shotcreting techniques, inexperienced handlers could unintentionally spray unacceptable quantities of the concrete product into the sea. To reduce the likelihood for such problems, strict quality control and quality assurance measures must be incorporated the construction contract and all activities associated with the construction will be inspected regularly by an experienced supervising engineer. The quality assurance or quality control program should be audited by the engineer to the contract on a regular basis.
13. Reorientation of the container yard will involve removal of two sheds, paving the area of the two sheds, and moving a light tower and the power house. No additional land will be needed for this activity. Dismantling the sheds will not cause significant environmental impacts. Paving will involve concrete removal and repair, and will have no significant environmental impacts. Installing the ship-to-shore sewerage line will not cause significant environmental impacts as it is a relatively small-scale activity.
14. Operational Phase. Current cargo handling operations and the loading and unloading procedures of containers and cargo will change. The anticipated traffic growth will also require increased monitoring bilge water, ballast water, solid waste, and sewage disposal. To maintain and enhance the environmental quality of the port, MPAF will implement a clean port management policy during the project construction phase and operations through various measures.
15. Items that need attention include (i) oil spills/leakage within the harbor that spread to the sea; (ii) oil spills from tankers on their way to or from harbor; (iii) inadequate management of wastes from ships; (iv) escape of oils within the harbor; and (v) adverse effects on estuarine lagoons. Mitigation measures are suggested by the International Convention for the Prevention of Marine Pollution from Ships in 1973 (MARPOL 73/78). This was later modified by a Protocol in 1978. MARPOL 73/78 is a legal document that provides guidelines and regulations for the effective control of port operations to minimize pollution and maximize safety/standards. The Fiji Islands is a signatory to MARPOL 73.78. Certain requirements of MARPOL 73/78 are reflected in the Port Authority of Fiji Act and the Marine Act. The following sections discuss some of the provisions in MARPOL 73/78 that cover certain operational aspects and discuss ways in which significant environmental impacts can be mitigated during the operation of King's Wharf.
16. Penalties. The maximum fine that can be imposed on offenders of ports regulations under the Ports Regulations 1990 is F$400, which is not an effective deterrent. The costs of environmental remedies can be considerably higher than the fine. Article 4 of MARPOL 73/78 states that penalties must be adequate in severity to deter violations of regulations. MPAF is revising the policy to increase the fines (maximum F$50,000 to the owner/company, F$10,000 to the captain, seizing the vessel, and prosecuting the offender). It is envisaged that revision of the legislation will be brought about by June 2002.
17. Sewage Disposal. Facilities for the disposal of sewage are not currently provided to all ships at King's Wharf. Shipping companies make their own arrangements for sewage disposal. MARPOL 73/78 states that the Ports Authority should provide facilities for sewage disposal. MARPOL 73/78 also sets out the requirements for the discharging of sewage at sea and the equipment that is required by ships of various sizes. To maintain the environmental quality of the port area and to comply with MARPOL requirements, the Project will provide a direct sewage pipeline from the ships to the sewage line at the wharf. The sewage line will be connected to the Suva sewerage system and subsequently to a waste water treatment plant. The present capacity of the sewage treatment plant is 60,000 people, and is planned to be upgraded. The total capacity after upgrading will be for 150,000 people. The Public Works Department indicated that additional sewage from the port could be easily accommodated by the treatment plant. Smaller local vessels deliver their sewage through mobile sewage collection vessel provided by the city council.
18. Bilge Water. Bilge and oily water at Suva Port is collected by a private company. MARPOL 73/78 specifies that nothing except clean and segregated ballast should be discharged within 50 nautical miles from land areas. The specific requirements for discharging bilge water vary from vessel to vessel, and depend on the ship type and the size. All ships will be required to be surveyed and maintain certification, and an oil record book at all times.
19. Most local ships will be under 400 gross tonnage. Under MARPOL 73/78, these vessels do not require surveys or certificates. However, they will be required to adhere to off-shore discharging criteria. For ships of this size, MARPOL 73/78 recommends that they (i) have approved oily-water separating or oil filter equipment; (ii) have a holding tank to retain oily mixtures and oil residues on board, and gutters around oil appliances; or (iii) where these alternatives are not practicable, have simple oily water separating equipment. A number of local ships and fishing vessels do not have any such systems. MPAF will set a phasing-in period during which boat operators can upgrade their vessels.
20. Solid Waste Disposal. Presently, MPAF provides garbage disposal facilities upon request. The garbage is then burned at the MPAF's incinerator. This service is mainly used by large ships. MPAF will provide garbage bins for the use of smaller vessels. This reduces the risk of rubbish being dumped into the harbor.
5. Institutional Requirements and Environmental Monitoring Programs
21. Emergency Procedures. The Occupational Health, Safety, and Tower Control Section of MPAF has a checklist of procedures and safety equipment required during bunkering and discharging of petroleum products. Currently, there are no set procedures nor any equipment for an environmental emergency such as a large oil spill. The Fiji-based petroleum companies (Shell Fiji Limited, B.P. South West Pacific Limited, and Mobil Oil Limited) have limited equipment to control small oil spills in the harbor. MPAF has an agreement with these companies to coordinate efforts if accidents happened. MPAF is also affiliated with the Pacific Ports Association. This association is working toward developing an understanding that every port in the Pacific region (including New Zealand and Australia) would come to the aid of another port in the event of an emergency if assistance is requested. Thus, well equipped assistance could be available from Australia and New Zealand. However, to enhance preparedness, MPAF will procure equipment for the containment and dispersal of oil spills. These comprise flat bottomed aluminum boats with outboard motors, approximately 100 m of containment boom, oil dispersant and spraying equipment, surface skimmers, and communication equipment. Environmental personnel will be trained, and the number of personnel for environmental surveillance under the Occupational Health and Safety and Tower Control Section has been increased from 8 to 10 to enable 24-hour shifts. Initial discussion has been made with the port of Sydney, which will provide full support for such procurement and the need of training.
22. Environmental Impacts of Other Activities. Most of the water pollution at Suva Harbor area is a result of land-based point sources at the Walu Bay industrial area (21 industries). These companies were surveyed and some of them (especially the food processing industries) were found to have significant environmental impacts. A comprehensive monitoring program of the industries will be carried out by the Public Works Department. The monetary value of environmental fines will be increased to act as a deterrent as soon as the sustainable development bill is approved. Under the Ports Regulations 1990, MPAF is responsible for monitoring the environmental health of the coastal areas and ports. Similar action will be taken for the point source pollution from industries.
6. Findings and Recommendations
23. Environmental Impacts. Based on the screening
and evaluation of environmental impacts, no significant environmental impacts
were identified for the construction associated with the King's Wharf rehabilitation.
The impacts will be limited (paras. 10-13). Environmental impacts during port
operation can be mitigated by the proper implementation of revised Port Regulations
and MARPOL 73/78. Therefore, a detailed environmental impact assessment study
is not warranted.
24. Monitoring. Monitoring of the water quality will be undertaken during the construction and operational phase of the Project. Through coordination by the concerned agency, e.g., Department of Environment, this monitoring program can be extended to a larger area of the wharf to monitor outflow of point sources pollution from Walu Bay industrial area. The forthcoming environment and sustainable development bill would provide an effective mechanism to mitigate pollution in the Suva Harbor area.
25. Emergency Procedures and Monitoring. An action plan will be incorporated into the Ports Regulations, which outlines the monitoring procedures in the event of an emergency. Liaison with other Pacific ports will be carried out to determine the scope of assistance and procedures that would have to be undertaken to receive emergency services.
26. Policy Requirements. MARPOL 73178 has been adopted in the present Port Regulation, 1 990. The level of penalties will be adjusted from the current F$400 maximum fine to a level that will deter pollution and will pay for all costs associated with environmental remedies in the event of a pollution incidence.
27. Enforcement. MPAF can utilize the Sustainable Development Act and a stringent water quality monitoring program to enforce its Ports Regulations, 1990 (or subsequent update legislation) on point of source pollutants along the Suva foreshore including the industrial area of Walu Bay.