The Water Authority of Fiji (WAF) is collaborating with the Ministry of Environment to raise awareness on the environmental impact of wastewater discharges and overflows and its harmful effects on the environment and human health.
“The Ministry of Environment hopes to strengthen its existing relationship with WAF and will provide support through awareness raising and training programs. It is my intent that the Ministry and WAF will engage strategically to achieve the objectives of the National Development Plan (NDP),” Permanent Secretary for Environment, Joshua Wycliffe said.
WAF Chief Executive Officer, Dr Amit Chanan, echoed similar sentiments.
“Environment is a key priority for our operations at WAF. It was concerning to have pointed out by the Department of Environment that one of our wastewater manholes was overflowing. WAF will conduct awareness sessions targeted at both residential and commercial customers to address the reoccurring issue,” he said.
WAF urges members of the public to be responsible and refrain from dumping household waste down lavatories, drains and sinks as such items lead to dangerous and unhygienic overflows of the wastewater system.
“An investigation into the recent wastewater overflow at the Lautoka City Council Car Park area revealed that the wastewater channel was blocked because of old rags, towels, plastic bags, bottles and a handbag causing the blockage which resulted in the overflows, not only are these problems expensive to fix, but they also cause issues like raw sewerage overflows into homes, businesses as well as waterways and when this happens it harms the environment,” said Dr Chanan.
Meanwhile, WAF will work with the Ministry of Environment to reach out to the general public to change mind-sets. WAF is carrying out inspections and advising traders for compliance and where necessary traders are also warned about their continued disregard against the Environment. WAF is also working with the Government to strengthen its current efforts to change improper disposal habits by reviewing the current laws and regulations to include penalty provisions for repeat offenders, through enactment of appropriate regulation.
To report wastewater issues please call WAF on 3346777 or shortcode 5777 (all networks) or email firstname.lastname@example.org