Dirt clouds of Fiji
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!