Worshippers Pollute Saweni Beach, Frustrate Public  

Public education on the way we treat our oceans can also affect the people who depend on it for these different reasons
03 Jan 2021 10:21
Worshippers Pollute Saweni Beach, Frustrate Public  
Prayer materials left behind on Saweni beach by worshippers.

Being in the hospitality industry for more than 10 years, Timoci Tuiqali has adapted to care for the environment.

Mr Tuiqali, the Guest Experience Manager at Vomo Island Resort, and his family were greeted with what looked like religious materials scattered along some part of Saweni Beach in Lautoka last Thursday.

It is believed that a group of religious people had performed a religious ceremony at the beach site and did not clear the area when they concluded.

Airing his frustration on Facebook, Mr Tuiqali said the common picnic spot was regularly cleaned by various individuals and groups, also noting ‘how is polluting nature, part of worship’?

Speaking to the Fiji Sun on Friday, he said being on the island most of his life, he had gotten used to seeing the environment clean and litter-free.

“We went around midday to the beach to enjoy the day and have lunch,” he said.

“This beach is always clean, but this was too much.

“My issue on this is not about me being racist, it is about the issue of pollution and how people act towards the environment.”

Mr Tuiqali said his family helped to clear the area later.

University of the South Pacific PHD student at the School of Marine Studies, Rufino Varea said as more of these materials were released into the environment, it could build up and become harmful to the marine or aquatic life.

“The way we treat our oceans can also affect the people who depend on it for these different reasons,” he said.

“Public education on the release of harmful non-biodegradable materials into the ocean is very important.”

Permanent Secretary for the ministry of Waterways and Environment, Joshua Wycliffe said the Ministry continues to raise awareness among all community groups on the need to maintain and preserve our pristine beaches and all common areas.

“For all religious rituals conducted in public space(s), the ministry asks that the community groups consult their local councils for the designated sites to perform rites,” said Mr Wycliffe.

“The ministry also caters to awareness and compliance signage on beaches reminding communities of the need to comply with the anti-litter legislation and the penalties for littering.

“The ministry asks that citizens who come across such incidents of noncompliance to call the Department of Environment litter online on 1520 immediately or their local council – so implicit action can be initiated.”

Mr Wycliffe said the ministry has planned major and impactful awareness and compliance programmes for the New Year.

Vice president of the Shree Sanatan Dharm Prathinidhi Sabha of Fiji, Keshwar Sharma said: “I know that these people who performed rituals there do not belong to our group because we always ensure that we clean up the area when we finish our rituals.”

“It’s really disturbing to see that some people are not clearing up their items when they are done.”



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