Letters To The Editor, 12th August 2017

Canecutters, the silent ones Arien Vikash Kumar, Nadi A few weeks back (FS 23/07), I wrote in this column asking what we and our political leaders are doing for canecutters
12 Aug 2017 13:19
Letters To The Editor, 12th August 2017
Sugarcane farmers happy with the recent Budget announcement on sugar on June 30, 2017. Photo: Charles Chambers

Canecutters, the silent ones

Arien Vikash Kumar, Nadi

A few weeks back (FS 23/07), I wrote in this column asking what we and our political leaders are doing for canecutters as these are the people who are silently and equally contributing to our sugar industry together with cane farmers, the Fiji Sugar Corporation and the Government.

Some farmers say that harvesting cane now is easy and fast because of the new harvesters brought in.

However, bringing in harvesters and concentrating only on farmers and the sugar mills is not the only solution to improve the industry or our economy as a whole. We also should not forget that the new harvesters cannot 100 percent replace canecutters due to the geographical location of our cane farms.

Thus the industry needs to sustain canecutters more than cane harvesters as they suit any farm locations unlike the harvesters which are suitable for flat lands only.

Can the Government also set aside some funds or schemes to improve the lifestyles of our canecutters as nearly all live in poverty and most of the time are overlooked because they are the “silent ones”?

I think they should also be included in the $1000.00 grant to engage themselves in some small businesses or farming for survival after the crushing season is over leaving them temporally unemployed.

My humble plea to some of our political leaders; please do not to play politics for their own political mileage with these innocent group of people. And I hope there is also no $5 per hour promise given to the group just like the unpractical labour rate promise given by the Opposition Member of Parliament Biman Prasad.

Leaders, please try to come up with something constructive for fellow cane cutters rather than using vote buying tactics for political gain.


AM frequency

Tomasi Boginiso, Nasinu

Reactivating the AM frequency is a great idea. I remember travelling around Fiji all the way around and this frequency was never disrupted in any way.

The same cannot be said of the FM frequency. When travelling from Suva to Lautoka on the Queens Road, the FM frequency was lost in the Serua and Nadroga areas.

The Am frequency, however, was there all the way which will be great for those islands which have been waiting to hear something all these years.

During a natural disaster, which is one of the main reasons this frequency is being reactivated, the people of Fiji will be kept informed of all they need to know about during a disaster.

Hopefully as we go through to the future with modern technology the unfortunate ones will not be forgotten.


Informal settlement

Satish Nakched, Suva

The informal settlement at Veiraisi in Nadera has about 200 households and on average generate about two kilogrammes of refuse in a week per household and in a year this figure balloons to about 20 tons of rubbish produced that is dumped in the sea.

There is no provision of any sort of a proper system of garbage collection method on a regular basis as this settlement is not recognised by the local municipal council.

The residents use the burning of the rubbish as a disposal method but most opt to discharge the refuse into the mangroves and into the streams.

The sea tide and the storm water then slowly push it to the sea and most of it gets tangled around the mangrove roots and remains there for years and this is very visible during the low tide.

If this abuse continues for another five years the total tonnage of the rubbish that will end up in the environment will exceed more than a hundred tons and this figure is very alarming and frightful.

This assumption and the calculation are based on the minimum estimate. The abuse can be higher.

We have so many informal settlements around the country and there is a need for a study to be undertaken to see the percentage of the rubbish not going through the system for a proper disposal method that does not adversely affect our environment.

Apart from the environment issues, the fact remains that the population of such establishments will grow and put enormous pressure on the environment if our system fails to capture such threats.

The local Government needs to come up with a mechanism to assist the people in managing their garbage. This applies to the Cunningham and the Khalsa Road areas.

It is also noted that the populous formal settlements in the Davuilevu area are not serviced by the municipal authority concerned. There is a private contractor who comes once a week to collect the rubbish and charges three dollars per bag and must be paid on the spot for the service.

Apart from the environment concerns the rotting garbage is also known to produce harmful gases that mix with the air and can cause breathing problems in people.

Proper waste disposal is critical due to the fact that certain types of wastes can be hazardous and can contaminate the environment if not handled properly.

These types of waste also have the potential to cause an outbreak of diseases. With so many places now on the verge of being declared towns and cities it is also important to ensure the basic amenities of a garbage disposal system is in place that covers the total municipality.

There is a need to plug all the holes and the leakages of littering that will keep our country beautiful.

Feedback:  jyotip@fijisun.com.fj

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