Opinion

EDITORIAL-Stop And Think Again Before You Throw That Rubbish

In the wake of the United Nations Ocean Conference in New York and the statement by Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama about the worsening problem about littering in Fiji, the Fiji
13 Jun 2017 09:31
EDITORIAL-Stop And Think Again Before You Throw That Rubbish

In the wake of the United Nations Ocean Conference in New York and the statement by Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama about the worsening problem about littering in Fiji, the Fiji Sun today launches another anti-litter campaign.

Despite previous attempts to highlight this problem, some in our midst, continue to ignore the call to stop littering or indiscriminate dumping of rubbish.

The whole world has heard Mr Bainimarama talk about this problem and he has appealed to the Fijian public to stop rubbishing our pristine environment.

Let’s begin at home, where everything starts. The anti-litter campaign should be part of the conversation in every family.

Family compounds and backyards should be kept clean and tidy. They should not be converted into dump sites where mosquitoes and other creatures that cause diseases breed and hide.

Then we need to move on to our neighbourhoods. Some neighbourhoods are an eyesore like Colo-i-Suva and the top end of Adi Davila Rod, Davuilevu Housing, near Nausori. Last week the Local Government authority put  a couple of big bins in the Davuilevu area.

But some people continued to dump rubbish on the roadside. It is a severe indictment on the attitude of some of our people towards keeping our environment clean.

Like Mr Bainimarama said the time for talking is over. This is the time for action. We have spoken a lot about this issue previously. We need to stop talking and do something about it.

“Do not litter” should be our battle-cry.

At home, which has the ideal teaching environment, children should be taught to throw their rubbish in the proper designated bins.

They also must know that it is illegal to throw rubbish from a moving vehicle. Too many times we see people throwing all manner of rubbish including wrapping paper outside from some buses and cars.

They need to know why it is important not to throw rubbish carelessly. They need to be taught that  this rubbish could end up in our rivers and seas and  threaten their ecosystems. This in turn will threaten our food source and economic livelihood.

People are ignoring the anti-litter call because the law is not being enforced.

The enforcement agencies can no longer stand on the sidelines and pay lip service to this problem. Their time to act is long overdue.

Not long ago, the ministry responsible talked about a name and shame scheme to deter people from littering. We have seen very little evidence of this happening. Maybe if  it started doing it, people might sit up and take the law seriously.

We should learn from the Singapore experience. Singapore is internationally well-known for its reputation as being impeccably clean. It’s done it through an active anti-litter campaign and stringent law enforcement.  First time offenders who throw small items like cigarette butts or candy wrappers are fined $300. Those who throw out bigger items like drink cans or bottles are considered defiant and are required to appear before the court. The punishment usually involves a Corrective Work Order (CWO), where the offenders clean up a specified area while wearing a bright luminous green vest.

Chewing gums are also banned because of maintenance problems they cause in high-rise housing flats (gum stuck inside keyholes, in mailboxes, and on elevator buttons). Smoking is also prohibited in certain areas.

What happened to the smoking ban in public places here? After the initial noise that was created when the ban was introduced, things have gone quiet just like the anti-litter law campaign. Let’s start making noises again about keeping our environment clean and say: “We will not litter.”

Feedback:  nemani.delaibatiki@fijisun.com.fj

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