Editorial comment – Stop litterbugs

Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama while opening the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) Clean Pacific Roundtable at the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat in Suva today. Picture: JOVESA NAISUA

It is difficult not to agree with the Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama when he said every “single piece of rubbish represents one thoughtless decision made by someone who couldn’t have been bothered to make the effort to dispose properly of their waste”.

He said because of such thoughtless decisions, the environment and people were threatened.

All the thoughtless decisions are adding up, he said, and “it is our environment, our marine life, our economic security and the welfare of our people that is threatened as a result”.

He made the comments while opening the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) Clean Pacific Roundtable at the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat in Suva yesterday.

The PM believes we each need to do our part to make sure that the oceans are no longer seen as a dumping ground.

The same, he said, goes for our waterways, our rivers, our bays and our beaches, “and the same goes for all of Fiji”.

Rubbish that starts by the side of the road, he said, very often ended washed into the sea.

While there was funding on a nationwide standardisation of rubbish bins and a stepped campaign of rubbish collection, he said, the State could not force people to use them.

That’s a decision, he said, that individuals must make, that communities must make.

Littering shouldn’t be a touchy issue. Laws are in place to curb this rather filthy habit.

Sceptics will question though whether our laws are effective. Being effective will come down to how well people who are designated to do so, can police them.

The fact that we have laws against littering should add impetus to the bid to improve cleanliness around the country.

Plastic, empty water and soft drink bottles are major worries for the environment. People tend to throw these indiscriminately when they have no use for them.

Environmentalists believe littering is a nasty side effect of the ‘throwaway’ or ‘convenience oriented’ mentalities.

The harsh reality is that one does not have to look far to see evidence of this careless attitude. The aftermath of major festivals around the country are perfect examples of such filthy habit.

In our urban centres, the burden of litter clean-up usually falls on municipal councils.

We should be looking after our environment.

We should be proud of it, embrace what we have, and do the right thing.

We should be protecting our beautiful country.

Surely we all want to enjoy clean beaches, well-kept and maintained parks, and be part of the process of keeping Fiji clean.

We should start by taking the initiative to stop littering as individuals.

Get the message out. Stop littering!

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