We are in a waste management crisis in Fiji.
This was the message from the Director of Waste Recyclers Fiji and Founder of Pacific Recycling Foundation, Amitesh Deo, during the Training/Workshop on Social and Behavior Change Communication To Promote Recycling In Suva City that was held at the FNU College of Medicine this morning.
Deo says while waste management is a global issue, it is especially worrying for countries like Fiji and its rural maritime communities, which face unique challenges in the waste management sector due to geographical location, limited infrastructure, and unequal population centres.
He says in places like Suva City, the situation is further worsened by increasing population growth, rapid urbanization, and lifestyle changes, leading to a rise in the generation of waste.
The PRF Founder adds that, however, all the reasons leading to the rise in the generated waste have one common factor, the people.
Deo says as they have been saying, it’s not waste that is the problem, but it is how we are dealing with waste.
He says Fiji’s waste management issues are further compounded by other external elements that affect community behaviour, and just recently, they discovered urine-filled plastic bottles during a clean-up campaign at Koronivia Road.
Deo adds this could be due to a lack of public washrooms or people being stuck in traffic for a long time.
He says the two-day workshop is also critical for the implementation and success of the I Recycle Hub Program as it aims to explore the core belief structure that currently exists at these sites and how communications plans will be developed to influence behaviour change.
Deo says the I Recycle Hub program comes with a comprehensive training program, data collection, monitoring and evaluation aspects, and a custom design bin.
He further says this pilot program is also aimed at providing important data and lessons so that the program can later be scaled up to other locations and as a national implementation strategy.
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