Opinion

Focus on Enforcement And Recycling Will Do Great Wonders To Our Environment

This is an edited version of Nemani Delaibatiki’s My Say from yesterday’s FBC programme 4 The Record.   We have to accept the fact that as our population grows, our
07 Aug 2017 11:00
Focus on Enforcement And  Recycling Will Do Great Wonders To Our Environment
Dumping of solid waste in drains along Nadawa.Photo:Vilimoni Vaganalau

This is an edited version of Nemani Delaibatiki’s My Say from yesterday’s FBC programme 4 The Record.

 

We have to accept the fact that as our population grows, our rubbish will also grow. New residential and commercial sub-divisions are popping up everywhere. It is a positive sign for the economy.

It shows we are growing as a nation. With this progress comes the flip side of the coin – the challenge on how to deal with our growing rubbish.

The Prime Minister, Voreqe Bainimarama, this past week waded into the rubbish debate. He has openly warned that those caught littering or dumping rubbish illegally will be punished by the law.

This is not the first time he has raised this issue and those relevant authorities tasked to enforce the law better take note. The time for talking is over. It is time to act.

At the moment the anti-litter law is like a toothless tiger because those responsible to enforce it appear to be spectators on the sidelines.

When the law is ineffective, it encourages offenders to push the boundary. As a result littering continues unabated and it will go on until we put our foot down and say enough is enough.

Enforcement aside, recycling is an effective way to deal with our rubbish problem.

It will reduce the pressure of our landfills to absorb our rapidly mounting garbage and provide opportunities to create new products.

Items that can be recycled include plastics, aluminium drink cans and paper.

They are common rubbish found in many parts of the country.

In America, every three months, Americans throw enough aluminum in the landfills to build their nation’s entire commercial air fleet. Now that’s a lot of cans.

It is estimated that the average person has the opportunity to recycle more than 25,000 cans in a lifetime.

Recycling a single aluminum can, can save enough energy to power a TV for three hours. One ton of recycled office paper saves 4100 Kwh of energy, nine barrels of oil, 60 pounds of air pollutants from being released, 7000 gallons of water, and 3.3 cubic yards of landfill space.

In Fiji, we have a number of recycling companies. One of the prominent ones is Waste Recyclers (Fiji) Ltd.

It claims it is the only company fully committed in the collection and processing for export of all recyclable products from Fiji. It says it collects for recycling only and not to dispose off to landfill, or by burning, burying or dumping. It has provided this service to Fiji since 2004. Waste Recyclers collects and exports for recycling the following products: cardboard, PET bottles, all types of plastic , all glass bottles, tin cans, aluminium cans, batteries (motor vehicle batteries are processed in Fiji), printer cartridges, electrical appliance, any metal objects or scrap, old computers and printers, light tubes and more.

Glass must be recycled because it takes 4000 years to break down. While the cost of collection, processing and export is actually quite high, the long term benefits far outweigh the costs.

In the long run, it will actually be cheaper because rubbish in landfills will decrease. A clean environment will enhance a health conscious community and promotes healthy living. It will reduce our national health and medical bill.

A lot of rubbish that goes to the landfill can be recycled.

Local governments and recycle companies should work together and place recycle bins in neighbourhoods to encourage people to separate recycle items from the biodegradable waste. The biodegradables can go into gardens as manure.

A two-pronged attack of enforcement and recycling will do great wonders to our environment and promote a healthy Fiji.



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