Prime Minister Honourable Sitiveni Rabuka has reiterated the importance of reusing and recycling items that presents many opportunities and benefits to our environment, economy, health and our social well-being.
While officiating as chief guest at the Global Recycling Day at the Sheraton Fiji Golf and Beach Resort in Nadi today, Prime Minister Rabuka informed those in attendance that around two billion tonnes of waste is discarded every year.
However, he believes that 74 per cent of this waste can be re-used.
Hon. Rabuka, at the same time, shared his personal experience when he collected bottles to earn extra income for his family.
This happened some years ago after the previous administration removed his pension.
“Waste recycling is very close to my heart, it gave me a source of income during a difficult and challenging period in my life and I shared this experience publicly in January as a message of hope on my journey, that if you are determined, you can overcome any obstacle,” he said.
Prime Minister Rabuka said that he collected PET bottles along with a iTaukei man and they used to recycle the items at the Coca Cola factory at Laucala Beach.
“This practice has not only assisted those bottle pickers but me as well. To this day, I continue to collect plastic bottles and participate in foreshore clean-up campaigns for the purpose of recycling and at the same time, keeping our environment clean.”
The Prime Minister also acknowledged the work of Waste Recyclers Fiji Limited and the Pacific Recycling Foundation, adding they are exemplary in the waste management and recycling space.
He urged the people of Fiji to continue to work together to increase recycling efforts and in keeping our environment clean and waste-free.
The Prime Minister also unveiled the waste sorting recycling bins for Sheraton Fiji, the first of many such recycling bins to be distributed to resorts and hotels in Fiji.
He also signed a pledge about today being a Plastic Free Day.
Meanwhile, as part of the World Recycling Day celebration, 64-year-old Asinate Lewabeka of Vunato was recognised for her tireless waste-recycling efforts over the years.
From just picking bottles and other re-used waste materials daily, she has been able to send her children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews to school, and also support her family financially.
The theme for today’s celebration is- Plastic-Free Pacific: a plea.