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Ministry To Get Tougher On Those Who Dispose Rubbish Irresponsibly

Ministry To Get Tougher On Those Who Dispose Rubbish Irresponsibly
Rubbish thrown in drain block the water access from drain near Nakasi round-about on December 6, 2018. Photo: Ronald Kumar.
December 07
10:33 2018

The Minister for Waterways and Environment, Mahendra Reddy, says they are looking at ways of tougher enforcement of anti-litter laws to counter the negligent manner in which people dispose of their rubbish.

The move comes after findings by the Fiji Roads Authority that blocked drains and culverts influence the high frequency of flooding in urban areas. 

And with the cyclone season already here, expect more rain and flooding as a result of these littering problems.

“We want to enforce the Litter Decree, but before that happens, for the urban settlements and housing areas, we want to ensure that good bins are provided,” said Mr Reddy.

“There are a lot of places where there are still no bins.

“We don’t want to prosecute or charge people without providing them with alternatives.

“Within the next two months, we will start doing surveys and soon after we want to place bins in places where it is densely populated.”

Mr Reddy said settlements such as Wailoku, Kali Place,  Sakoca and Caubati were some of the areas where the ministry had placed rubbish bins. They were now looking forward to providing more bins in these areas.

“For areas such as Waidamudamu, Vuci and Raralevu, we will have to provide bins in all those places.

“We have to go big time now to provide bins and then we have to come up with an agreement that they will have to sign contracts to empty these bins on a regular basis.”

The ministry will then go on the media to enforce the litter decree to the public.

“Anyone found throwing litter into our waterways will be subjected to the litter decree and the penalties.

“We will also look at having litter Police on the roads on a part-time basis.”

There is a big plan coming in regards to litter and blockage of our drains and waterways.

Through the Fiji Sun anti-litter campaign, it has been noted that rubbish from households and commercial zones have either been dumped directly into drains or left near drains. As a result, the rain washes the rubbish into the drains.

Vatuwaqa resident Balram Singh: “My houses get flooded whenever it rains. The culverts are blocked by rubbish and debris and water overflows and flood roads, houses and gardens.

“We need help from the Government to clean the drains. I am also appealing to people not to throw rubbish near and in drains because it would cause problems when it rains. But who will police it to make sure that this happens?”

Central most affected

FRA chief executive officer Jonathan Moore said: “People should dispose of rubbish in appropriate places.

“We can’t be having the dumping of rubbish on the side of the road, it all gets washed into the drains and blocks all the culverts and floods the roads.”

For the 2018-2019 National Budget, the FRA was allocated a budget of $563.1 million. From this, $69.5 million is allocated for an ongoing maintenance programme as part of the FRA’s attempts at preserving and improving Fiji’s road assets. The expenditure includes cleaning of blocked drains and culverts.

“The Central Division is the most affected division because there is a lot more rain and it is heavily populated.

“We do not have any regulations or policies that can deter people from throwing rubbish in the rains but we can only advise them to make right decisions.”

Edited by Ranoba Baoa

Feedback:  sheenam.chandra@fijisun.com.fj

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