As people of the Pacific, we must realise that we all have the right to have a clean and safe environment, and in doing so we also need to recognise that as a community we continue to violate our rights by mistreating our waste.
This was highlighted by the Founder of the Pacific Recycling Foundation and CEO of Waste Recyclers Fiji Limited Amitesh Deo during the side event on Circular Economy at the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme on the 31st Meeting in Apia, Samoa, last night.
Deo also stresses that as the world takes its journey to a circular economy, we the people of the Pacific must ensure that the landscape of waste management and recycling gets shaped with some core fundamental principles that have ensured our resilience as a community.
He says we must ensure that as we implement new procedures and systems, it is done with the principles of ‘Do No Harm’, where new concepts should not be implemented to do further harm to the environment and communities, with the plea to safeguard those involved in informal waste picking.
The PRF Founder adds there is also a need to recognise the local knowledge and expertise and the journey of the circular economy should not be taken on the notion of profit before people, as we shape our growth in not just waste management but all sectors, and we must ensure local voices do not get drowned over overseas expertise.
Deo also brought to the attention of the participants that the PRF and its corporate arm, WRFL remain committed to changing the landscape of waste management in Fiji and the Pacific as well as positively influencing the lives of those involved in waste picking, through tailor-made recycling programs and structured support.
He further says they are also committed to their long-term vision and dream that if everyone in Fiji and the Pacific starts practising recycling, they will be able to justify large-scale investment into local recycling and up-cycling facilities.
He says this means that progressively, we will be able to transition some of the Collection Pillars of Recycling, in particular women and members of the LGBTQI+ groups into green jobs.
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