Editorial Comment – Protecting our environment

SOME of our registered political parties believe there is a need for us to improve our laws on the environment. The National Federation Party, Social Democratic Liberal Party and the Fiji Labour Party believe the protection of our environment was critical for our future generation. As we continue our count-down to the 2018 General Election, we asked the six registered political parties about their views on the environment and their stand on keeping Fiji clean. The FijiFirst party, Unity Fiji party and the Fiji United Freedom Party did not respond to the questions when this edition went to press yesterday. Questions were sent to the parties via electronic mail on Tuesday. The NFP, FLP, and SODELPA responded to the questions. NFP leader Professor Biman Prasad said they would advocate genuine environmental protection. He said it was not simply because talking about the environment was fashionable, but because it was the right thing to do to ensure that our future generations can inherit pristine natural surroundings that err on the side of caution, rather than development that caused environmental destruction. SODELPA leader Sitiveni Rabuka said his party would put into place and strengthen necessary policy framework to ensure the proper management of the environment and sustainable use of natural resources. FLP vice-president Monica Raghwan said the party would ensure strict compliance with the litter laws to keep our environment clean at all times and prioritise the conservation of Fiji’s biodiversity, much of which was unique to Fiji. When faced with a global situation that is eating away chunks of land, and destroying the way of life of many people in our region, world leaders are bound to act on the side of caution. Surely it pays to heed the fact that thousands of people are affected in many parts of the world in different ways. You would be seen to be considerate. You would be seen to be human if you were, considerably, or to a certain extent impacted by the conditions those affected face or live under. The harsh reality is that thousands of people in our region are greatly impacted by a scenario that is real. Villagers in some parts of Fiji have been forced to move inland as the sea washed up some of our coastline. Over the years, they have seen it reach further inland. The irony is that we live in a region known for its sunny days, swaying palm trees and clear blue waters washing up white sandy beaches. The picturesque scenes are to die for. They are the epitome of the dream holiday. They provide that vital edge that tourists will continue to be attracted to. The years have been like a silent killer, eating up little parts of beautiful coastline. They have added up to huge patches in some areas. Our challenge though is to be proactive and vigilant. We must be part of the campaign to protect our environment and at the same time embrace climate change and its impact.

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