Recent field inspections conducted by the Ministry of Environment officers and related media reports have raised concerns about the negative externalities arising from the operation of some of the large poultry facilities in Fiji.
The Ministry has noted that the negative externalities arising from their operations do not only impact the environment but also the health of the communities and families living within the proximity of these facilities. Minister for Environment, Dr. Mahendra Reddy noted that the Ministry takes a very serious view of such operations that have no regard for the Environment and or Human Health implications.
He stated that the Environment Management Act 2005 strictly stipulates that anyone “who knowingly or intentionally or with reckless disregard to human health, safety or the environment, causes pollution incident that results in harm to human health or safety, or severe damage to the environment commits an offense and is liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding $1,000,000 or to life imprisonment or both”. This penalty is five times higher for a corporate body.
Recently, following inspections, the Department of Environment has issued several prohibition notices to companies that have not complied with the legislative requirements.
The Department will continue to monitor and prosecute anyone found to be breaching the conditions of practice required as part of the waste disposal permit issued under the Environment Management Act. 2 Dr. Reddy requests that all companies should have a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) that includes Fly Treatment. Poultry operators should have a well-developed “Fly Control Program” that would regularly monitor and mitigate economic and health threats.
The Department will continue to monitor all poultry operations in Fiji to ensure the agreed SOPs are being adhered to.
Minister stated that apart from meeting the Environment Impact Assessment requirements, every livestock facility must: a. hold a livestock waste permit for disposals or discharges of waste and pollutants from the Department of Environment. b. ensure that there are no direct discharges of animal waste into the environment.
They must also ensure that odors and pests (including flies)are properly managed onsite. c. ensure that manure (bird excrement), litter (bedding materials & wood shavings) are disposed of in an environmentally sound manner with the approval of the Department of Environment. d. ensure that all liquid waste discharged by the facilities must meet the standards specified in the Environment Management Act 2005 and the Environment Management (Waste Disposal and Recycling) Regulations of the National Liquid Standards.
The above while not exhaustive, are some of the basic requirements, while there are also other facility-specific conditions laid out by the Department of Environment for each facility.
Poultry facilities are required to comply with all conditions issued to them as part of the permit(s)–failing to do so will mean the law will be applied for any form of violation.
The Department of Environment Officers will be carrying out spot inspections of poultry facilities across Fiji to ensure full compliance.