The importance of recycling and its associated benefits towards the preservation of precious primary resources was today reiterated during Global Recycling Day celebrations.
In recognizing the impacts that recycling would have on the environment and the need for more efficient waste management practices, Minister for Agriculture, Rural and Maritime Development, Waterways and Environment Hon. Dr. Mahendra Reddy said such measures were needed to secure our future.
“The two goals of Global Recycling Day includes telling world leaders that recycling is simply too important not to be a global issue and that a common, joint approach to recycling is urgently needed; and to ask people across the planet to think resource, not waste, when it comes to the goods around us – until this happens we simply won’t award recycled goods the true value and repurpose they deserve.
Acknowledging the immense contribution that youth could play in championing and leading recycling efforts, Minister Reddy noted the role and power in engaging youth now.
“We now have to join hands in combatting this problem which is affecting everyone. It is not only an individual’s problem or a local problem. Rather, it is everyone’s problem and therefore a national problem,” he emphasized.
Minister Reddy further stressed and identified waste and pollution as one of the greatest threats to sustainable development in the Pacific Island region, second only to climate change.
“A notable dimension about waste is that its volume is a direct function of population levels and economic growth. Both of these causal variables are rising amongst the Small Island States and therefore, the volume of waste is also rising,” he said.
“However, in Fiji and many small island states, we have yet to develop a more complex waste management system to handle different types of wastes. Due to laxity and absence of waste disposal frameworks in the past and inability and lack of will to enforce penalties, there is a prevailing culture of disposing of waste in waterways, alongside roads, near river banks, along the coast and in mangroves and natural forests,” Minister Reddy added.
Emphasis was also placed on the need to change this culture of improper waste management as the risk of losing natural capital and deprivation of resources for current and future generations from accessing it would be imminent.
“We must also note that this problem that we are now trying to combat is not beyond us. It is created by us. Hence, to effectively deal with this, we have to address the supply side, nipping it in the bud, at its source and generation of waste.
Global Recycling Day is celebrated annually on 18th March and was this year held at Green Waste Recycle PTE Ltd Yard in Veisari, Lami with the participation of Government stakeholders, corporate bodies, neighboring communities, and schools.