Prime Minister Sitiveni Rabuka’s recent post on Facebook detailing his difficult journey, particularly where he mentioned about collecting plastic bottles and that it was difficult but not impossible to live without a pension, gives hope and determination to many Fijians who collect recyclables from public places or dumpsites and also endure difficult and dangerous conditions with little to no protective equipment.
This was stated by the Founder of the Pacific Recycling Foundation, Amitesh Deo.
Deo says Rabuka’s actions where he chose to collect plastic bottles during one of the most difficult periods of his life resonates very well with the work carried out by thousands of Fijians around the country who are involved in informal waste picking to generate income for their families.
He says the Prime Minister’s decision to collect recyclables when he was finding ways to remain above water has sent a strong message to all the Collection Pillars of Recycling, formerly known as informal waste pickers, their work is relevant.
Deo also says those that collect recyclables to earn a living are often looked down upon, insulted, viewed as vagrants, face limitations in regulations to protect their work and sadly, go through difficulties to obtain basic healthcare and other services.
He further says Rabuka’s action and his message also give hope to organisations like PRF and Waste Recyclers Fiji Limited who have been advocating for best practices of waste management and recycling.
Deo adds the need to recognise Collection Pillars of Recycling for the critical role they play in keeping our environment clean and moving them into the formal sector through green jobs.
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