Units Forward Cases To DPP
Within the last eight to ten months, eight cases have been forwarded to the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) by the Environment Impact Assessment Unit.
During the same period the Waste and Pollution Control Unit under the Ministry of Waterways and Environment has also forwarded three cases to the DPP.
Permanent Secretary for Environment Joshua Wycliffe revealed this saying that Fiji was going places in terms of environmental awareness and protection.
He said through the various exercises that the ministry engaged in they were also raising awareness for people to take note that when a person broke the law they were liable to face the legal measures that followed.
“Awareness is rising, but responsibility also increases with the public for them to follow up and make sure that they keep to the law and follow the law,” Mr Wycliffe said.
“In terms of stop work and prohibition notices issued by the ministry the waste and pollution control unit has issued 18 notices within eight to ten months and the EIA unit has issued 26. “The department is strengthening its compliance requirements and monitoring and how we go about it and apply the Environment Management Act closely to adhere to all the processes and businesses and developments that go around,” he said.
“Primarily it will be three areas. They would be environment impact assessment, waste management and the third will be ozone depletion substances.” He said most cases they dealt with fell under the category of EIA as well as waste management. “Two processes work hand in hand, one is compliance and the other one is awareness creation,” Mr Wycliffe said.
“We have several compliance monitoring systems from staff inspectors who go there and our understanding with other agencies who have their staff and inspectors on the ground as well.”
He said the ministry relied on members of the public to alert them of alleged breaches.
They will then follow up by conducting inspections to establish whether there is a breach or not, with proof. “The latest of what we have is we have acquired the drone technology for the ministry,” Mr Wycliffe said.
“It will also start monitoring and ensuring compliance then report back to the ministry to determine, which areas are being breached and accordingly we are able to take punitive measures in controlling the breach areas.”