Contamination of Suva Lagoon



Publication Details

Morrison, R. J., Gangaiya, P., Garimella, S., Singh, S. K., Maata, M. and Chandra, A. (2006). Contamination of Suva Lagoon. In R. J. Morrison and B. Aalbersberg (Eds.), At the Crossroads: Science and Management of Suva Lagoon (pp. 146-155). Suva, Fiji: Institute of Applied Sciences, University of the South Pacific.


Suva Lagoon, surrounded by the greater Suva urban area having a population approaching 200,000 people, is subject to contamination from many sources (industry, domestic waste, urban stormwater runoff, shipping related activities). An assessment of the potential contaminant sources indicates a range of problem materials - nutrients, metals, hydrocarbons, organochlorines, microorganisms and other materials such as plastics, tyres, clothing and general rubbish. This paper summarises the available data on many contaminants, but it is noted that there are few systematic long-term studies that facilitate identification of trends. In general, contaminant concentrations decrease markedly towards the barrier reef. The problems with metal contamination are generally isolated to known hot-spots, with the exception of tri(n-butyl)tin, for which Suva Harbour holds the record for the highest globally published concentration. The limited data indicate no major issues with hydrocarbons or organochlorine compounds. High concentrations of nutrients and microorganisms related to sewage contamination appear to be the major problem with potential ecological and human health concerns in nearshore areas of the lagoon.

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