EVERY Fijian regardless of their origin and income should be able to enjoy high levels of environmental protection, says aspiring politician and independent candidate Roshika Deo.
Ms Deo said people had the right to live in a clean, safe and healthy environment.
She said Fiji had been moving towards resource extraction and exploring seabed mining as a means to economic development.
Ms Deo said this was an area of concern.
"Some of the concerns have been on the lack of public discourse, access to information, free and informed consent and the involvement and participation of young people and women in the decision-making process," she said.
"At the core of it all is the exclusion of environmental justice. Resource extraction has many environmental and social impacts that are longer lasting than the economic impacts."
Ms Deo said people needed to be conscious of environmentally and socially responsible forms of development.
"Environmental justice should be an important component of discussions and decision-making regarding resource extraction.
"Generally, mining operations and practices affect the health and well-being of particular vulnerable groups such as the indigenous people, children, local communities located near the mining operations, and women on whom the burden of responsibility increases."
She said water sources and soil are affected, including the food sources that communities grow on the land or get from rivers or sea.