November 4th, 2022 marked a historic day in the waste management and recycling space with the official launching of Fiji’s first ever community-based pilot recycling project, according to Pacific Recycling Foundation and Waste Recyclers Fiji Limited.
The first of its kind, pilot recycling project which has been launched at Kabutri Drive in Koronivia, Nausori is an initiative of PRF and WRFL in partnership with the International Union for Conservation of Nature, Department of Environment, Nausori Town Council and RC Manubhai.
The Founder of PRF and CEO of WRFL, Mr. Amitesh Deo said this program is designed to change mindsets and behaviour towards recycling within our communities, as well as to address the ever-growing problem of recyclables ending up in our waterways which negatively affects our food resources, amongst other things.
He said Fiji is one of the Pacific's largest plastic polluters and it is their aim to address issues such as this through their program.
“It was during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic when we started talking to partners like the IUCN about a pilot community-based recycling project to be implemented in a community at Ragg Avenue. However, one of the first things we recognised when we started operating from Koronivia was the limited waste disposal options that people had in the community. We constantly heard stories about burning of rubbish, blocked drains and piles of black garbage bags all over Koronivia Road every Wednesday when the trucks would come to do the weekly collection,” said Mr. Deo.
He said they also saw rubbish scattered all over the entrance of Kabutri Drive and their team had to clear rubbish which would have ended up in drains or left behind.
“We proposed to our partners about starting this project in Kabutri Drive and this led to our first working group meeting of partners which included representatives from Department of Environment, Nausori Town Council, IUCN and our support partner, RC Manubhai. During this period, we also conducted our community meeting and selected 15 recycling advocates who reside in Kabutri Drive. They have also received their first training on recycling,” stated Mr. Deo.
According to PRF, this is a community led recycling program whereby the program’s ownership remains with the community.
Mr. Deo said with the support from their partners, they have designed the ‘I Recycle’ bins which are clearly marked as to which recyclables are to be placed in them.
He said this program will provide PRF, the Government and relevant stakeholders critical data of participation and narratives on lessons learnt, and eventually act as a blue print for other recycling projects in Fiji and the region.
Stay tuned for the latest news on our radio stations