THE Minister for Works, Transport and Public Utilities Captain Timoci Natuva believes there is a need for every Fijian to ensure that their environment is protected and not exploited.
Speaking at the Symposium on Exploring Korean Contribution to the Blue — Green Economy of the Pacific Region organised by the Korean Embassy and the Secretariat of the Pacific Community, Capt Natuva said "it cannot be denied that since independence the national urge for economic and social development have disturbed and in some instances destabilised the environment".
Capt Natuva said economic growth for Fiji had declined from a peak of 5.6 per cent in the 1970s to about 2 per cent or less in recent years.
"At the same time, imports in particular of fossil fuels have increased to more than a billion Fiji dollars per year or over one third of total imports," he said.
"Every year tonnes of fertile soil are being lost from our islands leaving behind an impoverished landscape."