It is essential that we apply the principles of sustainable development and utilisation of our natural resources, good waste management practices and endeavor towards the protection and conservation of Fiji’s pristine environment to help maintain tourism prominence in the region.
The Assistant Minister in the Office of the Prime Minister made these remarks whilst opening the “Waste Management and Pollution Control (WMPC)” roundtable discussion that was held at the Raddison Blu Resort in Nadi last week.
The roundtable discussion, organised by the Department of Environment, was aimed at highlighting the importance of information-sharing on legislations and raising awareness, which would enable businesses and stakeholders to ensure full compliance.
“The existence of a safe, resourceful and pollution free environment for our future generations is being compromised as a result of some of our unsustainable practices,” Assistant Minister Tubuna said.
“People have the ability to make developments sustainable, use resources wisely, protect and safeguard the environment, better manage their wastes and make informed decisions to ensure that the needs of the present are met without compromising it for the future generations.”
The Assistant Minister, at the same time, highlighted that communities be held accountable and encouraged their participation in waste management practices.
“Besides individuals, commercial and industrial facilities are continuously found to be engaging in activities that pollute and negatively impact the environment.
“Facilities are found to be non-compliant to the existing regulations, permit conditions, not meeting the discharge and emission standards such as the National Liquid Waste Standards, Air Quality Standards that are set out in the Environment Management (Waste Disposal and Recycling) Regulations 2007,” Assistant Minister Tubuna added.
“Environmental protection and pollution prevention is an essential component of sustainable practices of commercial and industrial facilities and should be embedded in the everyday operations, practices of facilities and industries.
“It is also the responsibility of every facility and/or industry to comply with the set national standards for discharges and emissions.”
“To maintain effective control and the sustainable use of natural resources, protection of the environment from waste and pollution, the Department of Environment in its capacity as an environmental regulator administers the Environment Management Act 2005 and the Environment Management (Waste Disposal and Recycling) Regulations 2007 that act a safeguards in protecting the environment.”
The Environment Management Act 2005 and the Environment Management (Waste Disposal and Recycling) Regulations 2007 mandates that all commercial and industrial facilities producing and discharging or disposing wastes to have an approved Waste Disposal/Recycling permit from the Department of Environment authorizing the discharge of any form of waste into the environment.
The Department of Environment will continue its efforts to track down illegal operators and penalize unregulated dischargers and emitters into our pristine environment.
“The People’s Coalition government is requesting all businesses and commercial operators to get in touch with the Department of Environment to ensure you best receive advice on regulatory and permit requirements, discharge and emission standards,” Assistant Minister said.
“Some of this have not been adequately managed and controlled in the past and it’s the role of every stakeholder to ensure that the processes and legislations are adhered to.”
Assistant Minister Tubuna stated institutions like Town Council’s also play a vital role in regulating and administering the environmental laws.
He urged town councils to intensify cleaning efforts in their townships to ensure that its citizens stay in a clean and safe environment.
“We fervently believe that working with the key stakeholders and having more open and frank discussions would allow us to gauge where we stand at present in terms of environment protection, and would help us determine how best we can address our current as well as emerging environmental threats national and globally,” he added.