Managing waste and pollution critical, says Kumar

MANAGING waste and pollution is one of Fiji’s priority tasks because of the impact of waste on the environment and also the effect it could have on tourism, says Local Government, Housing and Environment Minister Parveen Kumar.

Speaking at the opening of a workshop dedicated to improving waste management and the launch of the Clean Schools Program in Nadi yesterday, Mr Kumar said the manner in which people dumped waste in the country was deplorable.

“We seriously need to change our mentality and embark on a transformational national-wide awareness program that will incite telling behavioural change at all levels,” he said.

“Improper waste management and pollution is a pressing issue that warrants immediate action.

“Whilst every country worldwide is grappling with this issue, we in Fiji must re-double our efforts to maintain the global perception out there of a pristine and clean environment that continues to sway tourists preference to our shores.

“This is everyone’s responsibility.”

Mr Kumar acknowledged the assistance offered by the Japanese Government through the Japan International Co-operation Agency to establish improved waste management programs in the country.

JICA’s resident representative Hiroyuki Sawada said while his Government poured in resources and technical assistance in an effort to address waste management in the country, all would come to naught if there was no commitment by the Government and the Fijian people.

Japan has upgraded its commitment to addressing waste management in Fiji since the establishment of the 3R — reuse, reduce and recycle — program in 2008.

This effort has continued with the Japanese Technical Cooperation Project for Promotion of Regional Initiative on Solid Waste Management in Pacific Island countries.

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