Each year the Government spends over $3 million in operating the nation’s only landfill (Naboro Waste Management Landfill) that commenced its operations in 2005. While touring the facility Dr. Mahendra Reddy observed that “the tonnage landing in the landfill has increased nearly ten-fold since its inception. This figure has steadily increased over the last decade and although the total life of the landfill area may be extended to 70 years, it is very important that the Ministry take a futuristic approach towards the operations of the landfill – we cannot keep on building additional pits and cells for everlasting times”.
Dr. Reddy was accompanied by his senior team of officials including the Permanent Secretary Joshua Wycliffe and the Director for Environment Sandeep Singh from the Ministry of Waterways and Environment. An important factor under review was to anatomise the current operations ameliorate best practices like the reducing, reusing and recycling rubbish (3R).
Minister Reddy further reiterated on the joint objective of the Waterways and Environment ministry on the importance of waste management and the role played by technology in developed economies internationally. He has entrusted the task to his senior management team to come up with a landfill operations concept that is technology sound and futuristic. One that would if not totally eliminate but slow down and reduce the extension of newer pits (endlessly).
The Director for Environment assured that a well-researched concept paper, including financial sources to be tapped internationally would be prepared as a way forward before an implementation plan can be drawn in consultation and agreement with the Minister.
The Minister further highlighted the issue of effective waste management, which is a major problem – something that not only affects Fiji but the whole world. To deal with the overall issue of waste management there must be consistent efforts on awareness and a definitive change in waste disposal behavior. He called upon all Fijians to cooperate, commit and work together to end this racking issue that plagues us all today. He invited the City and Town Councils to seek support from the Ministry in strategically assisting with ways and means of assisting them in managing litter/waste within their council boundaries.
The operators HG Leach have been reminded of their contractual obligation to train local personnel not just (employees) but also build organisational capacities within Fiji.
Based on extensive consultations with relevant stakeholders a Community Levy (charged at the gate price per ton of waste) is being paid as agreed with the I Taukei Affairs Board into a Trust Fund benefitting the ancestral landowners of the Mataqali Bativudi in the Province of Rewa that own the land on which the Naboro landfill is situated. Since the opening of the landfill in 2005, the Department of Environment has paid over $715,000 in royalties to Yavusa Bativudi. At the time of reporting, the Department was assessing and finalising the Levies payable for the 2nd Quarter 2019.
In the interim, the government through the Ministry of Waterways and Environment is spending a further $5.2 million for the expansion-construction of the Naboro landfill under the 2019/2020 National Budget. Work for this cell has commenced and is expected to be completed in under 56 weeks.