"Green substance" in Pago Harbor identified as dye, not toxic

blue@samoanews.com

Commander for the United States Coast Guard (USCG) Marine Safety Detachment Unit in Pago Pago, Lt. Tanner Stiehl confirmed to Samoa News yesterday that one of the three incidents mentioned by Governor Lolo Matalasi Moliga in a July 13th letter to the USCG and AS-EPA involved a product that is not petroleum-based but consistent with dye used in the fishing industry.

Lt. Stiehl said the substance is not toxic, which is one of the concerns voiced by Lolo in his letter stating that on three separate occasions over the span of two weeks, he had seen a green substance floating in the waters of Pago Harbor.

According to the Governor, other individuals had reported to him that they too had witnessed the same disconcerting substance.

Lolo told Lt. Stiehl and AS-EPA Director Ameko Pato that he was bringing the matter to their attention, so they can investigate, "to ensure that the substance is not harmful to the environment or people."

Lolo said he wanted both ground and marine sources to be investigated properly, and in addition, "I would like to know the source, if it is harmful, how long it lasts in the water; and if it is an approved chemical, if it is being used properly, and if there are alternatives."

The Governor requested a report on any information on the matter, and urged that an investigation be launched immediately, if one was required.

According to Lt. Stiehl, the USCG has confirmed that one of the three incidents referred to by the Governor involved a dye used for fishing, but he couldn't speak on the other two incidents, for which the AS-EPA was taking the lead.

Samoa News understands the AS-EPA did collect water samples but no update could be obtained from them as of press time yesterday.

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