MEMBERS of the public who often use the popular picnic spot at Muanikau in Suva have raised concerns on the regular disposal of body ashes after cremation.
This matter - highlighted in the past in this newspaper - was again brought to the fore by a concerned citizen who, while picnicking with his family, saw a group of people from a Hindu community dispose ashes at sea where people were swimming.
Penaia Roko, a resident of Nadera in Nasinu said it was an unhygienic practice and it could pose health risks while at the same time affect the marine eco-system.
He said it was understandable that there were rituals that needed to be followed, but it was unfair that ashes were dispersed where people spent their leisure time.
Suva City Council (SCC) special administrator Chandu Umaria said there was no place legally designated for disposal of ashes after cremation nor were there any legal approval to that effect.
He said the current designated area at Muanikau Foreshore was a temporary one. He said it was the same site allocated by former governments following consultations with relevant authorities after a proposal by the Sanatan Dharm Pratinidhi Sabha of Fiji on behalf of Hindu denominations requesting for a decent spot in Suva for the final ritual.
And he added that the council did not have any legal authority over the foreshore area.
"Our jurisdiction ends at the high water mark and we have control over the land area," Mr Umaria told The Fiji Times.