Over 60 collection pillars of recycling, who are involved in informal waste picking at the Vunato dumpsite, will now benefit from the completion of a washroom, kitchen, and storage facility, funded by the Australian government through Direct Aid Program in partnership with the Pacific Recycling Foundation and Waste Recyclers Fiji Limited in partnership with Lautoka City Council and RC Manubhai.
67-year-old collection pillars of recycling, Asenate Lewabeka says the project would improve their working conditions and bring dignity to the community.
Lewabeka says they continue to face a great deal of stigma due to the work they are involved in, where they collect discarded items to earn a living.
Lautoka City Council CEO Mohammed Anees Khan says the Council was delighted to have collaborated with PRF and the Australian Government to become the first municipality in the country to provide support for this form to collection pillars of recycling.
The Minister for Housing and Local Government, Maciu Nalumisa officially opened the facility near the Vunato dumpsite and handed over the keys to Lewabeka, who has been involved in waste collection for 25 years.
Founder of Pacific Recycling Foundation and CEO of Waste Recyclers Foundation Limited Amitesh Deo says the project aims to give the collection pillars of recycling community in Vunato a sense of belonging, promoting dignity and showing appreciation for their contribution to environmental sustainability.
Deo says their collection pillars of recycling in Vunato, particularly women and members of the LGBTQI+ community, endure unimaginable struggles daily while combing the landfill for recyclables.
He says now they have been deprived of basic services such as water, washroom facilities, and a hygienic and dignified place to have meals.
Deo further says they no longer need to use the bush as toilets or miss their lunch, simply because they don’t have access to a toilet and a suitable place to have meals.
He adds that this collaboration would heighten the importance of collection pillars of recycling in the waste value chain.
Stay tuned for the latest news on our radio stations