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Fiji’s Waste Management Enters The Drone Era

Fiji’s Waste Management Enters The Drone Era
Minister for Local Government, Housing and Environment, Infrastructure and Transport Parveen Bala, with Assistant Minister for Local Government, Housing and Environment Lorna Eden with the drones at the launch of World Environment Day celebrations at Rishikul Sanatan College on June 5, 2018. Photo: Selita Bolanavanua
June 06
11:00 2018

The DJI Phantom 4 drones will assist in the Ridge to Reef project

Government will now employ the drone technology to moni­tor illegal waste dumping and breeching other environmental regu­lations.

Minister for Local Government, Hous­ing and Environment Parveen Bala launched this very important chapter in local waste management history at the World Environment Day Celebra­tions at Rishikul Sanatan College yes­terday.

The DJI Phantom 4 drones will assist in the Ridge to Reef project, which is currently implemented through the Ministry of Local Government, Hous­ing and Environment.

The project will be executing activi­ties in six catchments sites ¬- namely Tuva, Ba and Rewa/Waidina catch­ments in Viti Levu, as well as Tunuloa, Vunivia and Labasa in Vanua Levu.

Permanent Secretary for Local Gov­ernment, Housing and Environment, Joshua Wycliffe said these drones will provide support in multiple surveys planned for the project which includes the Rapid Biodiversity Survey, Bio­physical Survey, Land Use Survey and Freshwater Survey.

“These drones will greatly assist the Ridge to Reef project team as well as project implementing partners in the monitoring of project activities,” he said.

“Its high resolution 4K camera can provide support in taking baseline im­agery data of catchment sites.

“Before and after imagery of the pro­ject sites are crucial to the project as they will contribute to the reporting of activities at local and national levels.”

He also added that the drones will es­pecially be useful for catchments that are located in rural settings where ac­cess is hindered by the rugged, moun­tainous terrain and where road access is limited.

Images captured by the drones will also be used for the development of communication tools such as posters, brochures, project leaflets, stickers and other awareness materials of excep­tional quality, Mr Wycliffe said.

“Additionally, for the Ministry of En­vironment, the drones are useful for capturing and providing evidence of activities such as illegal gravel extrac­tion and sand mining, deforestation, and other activities that maybe occur­ring within these catchments.”

The drones will also be useful in deci­sion making to preserve biodiversity and ecosystem services, sequester car­bon, improve climate resilience and im­prove livelihoods of ordinary Fijians.

Mr Wycliffe acknowledged the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and the United Nations Development Pro­gramme (UNDP) for the provision of funding and procurement of the drones.

Edited by Jonathan Bryce


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