Tukutonga: from hazardous landfill to new recreational park

A spectacular view could be seen at the eastern end of Nukuʻalofa since last week after the Tukutonga trash site was transformed into a recreational park.

Known as Vaʻepopua National Park, the Tongan government said the new site for the community was a transformation of what was once an “environmentally hazardous site into a recreational public park for the people of Tonga including tourists”.

The government’s funded project was approved in December 2015 to redevelop the 10-acre site and remove some of the mangroves in the area.

“This clean-up initiative allows the replacement of the pollution housing mangroves with green grass, shaded trees and resting areas and facilities for the public overall”, a statement from government said.

The clean-up included removing about 3,300 square metres of  mangroves on the western side  of the Park.

It was claimed these mangroves no longer provide a safe place for fish and wildlife found in waters at the  surrounding villages of Popua, Pātangata and Tukutonga.

“…the area was badly polluted with litters, plastics and have become a nesting grounds for mosquitoes and obviously unsanitary for nearby settlements”, it said.

“These mangroves was [sic] once on the shoreline, but was cut off by the adjacent roads and the seawall several decades ago so was its environmental functions”.

According to Tonga’s census 2011 there are 2514 residents living in Tukutonga and Popua.

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