‘Say no to plastics’

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Pacific Recycling Foundation founder Amitesh Deo. Picture: PRF

WITH the unveiling of the ‘I Recycle Hub’ bin for the tourism industry in tomorrow’s Global Recycling Day celebrations, Pacific Recycling Foundation has pleaded with all Fijians to not use plastics tomorrow.

This plea, which will be officially declared by Prime Minister Sitiveni Rabuka at the event at Sheraton Fiji Golf and Beach Resort, is aimed at encouraging behaviour change towards recycling.

PRF’s founder and chief executive officer of Waste Recyclers Fiji Ltd, Amitesh Deo, said the declaration, ‘Pacific Recycling Foundation’s Plastic Free Day’ would call on all Fijians to refrain from touching or using any forms of plastic and reflect on proper disposal of plastic waste.

“A lot of effort and thought process has gone into developing this idea and it is their way of saying to stop and reflect on how are dealing with plastic waste,” he said.

“We understand you cannot go completely plastic free but it’s a day dedicated to reflecting on our actions. Yes, we will need plastic but it is a day dedicated to thinking about how do you deal with it and dispose it.

“We are urging Fijians to reduce plastic use while going shopping, coffee or at the office on March 18 (tomorrow).”

Mr Deo has also asked retailers to join the initiative for just one day – tomorrow – and refrain from providing avenues where plastics are used.

“We had pushbacks where people have said why only one day and it does not make any sense, however, our message is that March 18th is a day to reflect on how we are disposing plastics,” he said.

“Attached to this event are real stories and voices of people from Fiji and the Pacific as to how plastic and improper waste management have impacted their livelihoods where some food resources are no longer available, some do not taste the way they did in the past while others have plastic components in it.”

Mr Deo added that village elders had recognised that the food chain supply had been impacted because of improper waste management.

He said tomorrow would be a day to reflect on the struggles and challenges in recycling. “We are urging Fijians to join the recycling movement and show solidarity towards recycling programs by wearing a pin which represents the foundation.

“Roundtable discussions will also take place today (March 16, 2023) and we will look at why recycling is not a mainstream practice and the challenges faced by various stakeholders.”

The 2023 GRD celebrations in Fiji is an initiative of PRF and WRFL in partnership with Tourism Fiji, Swire Shipping, Pacific Energy, and Fiji National University.