Dirt clouds of Fiji

Fiji Sun - - Comment -

Axel C. Mehling, Na­covi

With the cane har­vest­ing sea­son com­ing up - and the fact that Fiji this year made his­tory by rat­i­fy­ing the Paris UN Cli­mate Change Agree­ment, thus be­ing a bea­con and a show­piece in the South Pa­cific and the world for the protection and care of na­ture, the en­vi­ron­ment in­clud­ing the qual­ity of air, wa­ter etc. The ques­tion that must be asked is: What are now the con­crete poli­cies and guide­lines for our sugar cane grow­ers? Ad­di­tion­ally: a) Is the burn­ing of cane fields still al­lowed? Be­fore and/or af­ter the har­vest? b) Does the cane farmer need per­mis­sion in each case from the Sugar Cane Grow­ers Coun­cil? c) Who mon­i­tors the ‘burn­ing’ - are the Fire Fight­ing Au­thor­i­ties al­ways in at­ten­dance? d) Who mon­i­tors and mea­sures the ef­fect of gases, sod and smoke on Fiji’s air qual­ity?

e) Will there be an ‘air qual­ity warn­ing sys­tem’ in place for the Western Di­vi­sion - e.g. like in Bei­jing, Jakarta? e) Is the SCG Coun­cil re­spon­si­ble and li­able if things go wrong (e.g. if other plants, prop­erty gets burned) or when kids/peo­ple get sick from bad air (Asthma)? What is the true en­vi­ron­men­tal cost (also im­age-wise ver­sus our tourists!) of mas­sive burn­ing and how do we ex­plain it to the coun­tries around the world - who thinks that Fiji is the im­mac­u­late leader and pro­tec­tor of the en­vi­ron­ment?

Af­ter Fiji’s stel­lar per­for­mance on the world stage and the sign­ing - do we take a look into the mir­ror and change now our ways? We must have the guts to talk about this now!

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