THE Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Program (SPREP) is on a scoping visit in Labasa to see what needs to be done to improve the ability of waste to be maintained in one area on the site at Namara.
The team from SPREP is on a week-long visit to identify what needs to be done as the pre-requisite for the implementation of the $A330,000 ($F603,415) integrated climate change adaptation project in the waste management sector in the north.
SPREP solid waste management advisor Esther Richards told The Fiji Times they would meet officials from the Ministries of Environment and Health, the Labasa Town Council and other relevant counterparts.
"The project is funded by AusAID and it is being implemented by SPREP," Ms Richards said.
"We're looking to ensure that the rubbish at the site does not spread all over the place and therefore, reduce the risk of contamination," she said.
Residents confirmed that they often fished in the river alongside the dump.
They said they were not aware of the potential harm if toxics from the dump seeped into the river, but added the stench was always unbearable.
"We're on a scoping visit at the moment to see what exactly is needed, this is our first mission," Ms Richards said.
"As soon as this mission is over, we'll go back and work on the implementation plan," she said.
Labasa Town Council special administrator Vijay Chand confirmed the presence of the team from SPREP and noted plans for a landfill system as it was done in Naboro.
He said this would involve a few phases of development.
"When that is done, it'll be a dump for everybody and we're going for the three R (reduce, reuse and recycle) where we will need to segregate waste at source," Mr Chand said.
Meanwhile, Ms Richards said the proposed project would be formalised once the memorandum of agreement was signed between the Education Ministry and other counterparts in Labasa and Seaqaqa.