Entries in #pollution (3)


Plastics in the  Ocean

The recent attention that has been drawn to plastics in our ocean through the great Blue Planet series has reinforced the importance of the work that we do on Beqa in collecting plastic from around the island.

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The Sad Reality Of  Plastics

According to a controversial report earlier this year, every single piece of plastic that has ever been created still exists today. While this may be an exaggeration, the problem of plastics in the seas is not one that can be ignored anymore.

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Waste management in Fiji

Beqa, an island 10km south of the mainland Viti Levu, has a population of 3,000 people with zero access to recycling facilities.

The difficulty with Island states is that by nature, there are many islands separated by ocean and spread many miles apart. Any form of government implementation begins with the mainland, but can then take many years to disseminate to the other outlying islands.

Fortunately, here is where non-governmental organisations can help to make the most contribution by offering assistance to the islands that are further out of reach both in distance, funding and even governance.

Despite the Fiji Islands not being top of the list of the world’s largest polluters, and while the ‘polluter pays’ principle is only in financial terms, sadly it will be the islands of the South Pacific that will feel the effects of sea level rise first, and pay in very different terms. Therefore, meeting targets is not just to appease the international community, but to protect themselves from imminent natural destruction.

Recycling and smart sustainable waste management is limited primarily to the mainland and island resorts. The island resorts ‘self-manage’ their own waste, which can take on a variety of meanings.  Island resorts, which cater to tourists both local and international, and have an image of beauty, hygiene and cleanliness to uphold in order to keep business ticking. With this economic incentive, ‘self managing’ waste makes perfect business sense, and does a service for the surrounding environment.  But what happens on the outlying islands outside of tourist hotspots?

Currently, most of the waste is either being burned, buried or thrown out to sea on Beqa. Options are limited when there are no recycling banks on the island, and with few boats heading to the mainland everyday, a week’s accumulation of waste (if not less) is soon dealt with actions providing immediate results, in other words, it’s out of the house, so that’s good enough for now. Though landfill and incineration are unsustainable options, they’re also not options given that islands are too small for landfills, and industrial incinerators come at a cost, not to mention the fact that Beqa has no roads for mass transportation of waste.

Moving forward, Frontier are here to make a commitment to the land and people of Beqa, and to work with the land and people of Beqa as we embark on establishing a waste management programme to help maintain a healthier, cleaner and beautiful Beqa!

By Sophia Victorian - Project Coordinator

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