Fiji Times

SUVA, Fiji (Dec. 15) - Everyone wants a clean environment - clean air, clean water, clean home, clean compound, clean food, clean beach, clean river, clean neighborhood.

But that can only happen if everyone makes it their responsibility to look after and care about the environment.

The Fiji Times is organizing a nationwide "Clean up for Christmas" campaign in the next ten days to raise awareness among people of all ages the importance of caring for the environment.

The plan is for you to show how proud you are of where you live or work and make an effort this week and next week to support this clean-up campaign. A dedicated line will be up and running tomorrow so you can call in to report on what you are doing to support the campaign, or tell us about problem areas.

Let's start with the proper disposal of rubbish in homes, factories, offices, parks and playgrounds. Let's make it a point over the next ten days to undertake this important chore -clean up our home, compound, neighborhood park and the roadside. It can be done as a family or neighborhood project or people can go at it alone.

It is sad to see that many people in our neighborhood or district find it acceptable to dump their rubbish by the road, in vacant lots and parks in the neighborhood, on the beach or by the sea. They do it mostly under the cover of darkness because they know what they are doing is wrong.

Their actions are irresponsible and they are no better than criminals who walk around assaulting and robbing innocent members of the public.

And it brings us to the next point - enforcing the litter law. Government officers say the same thing during Environment Week - about how people should be responsible about the environment - but people see very little being done in terms of enforcing the litter law.

The municipal councils and police have failed badly in policing this important legislation.

People who are lazy and careless about rubbish disposal should be punished. It is the best way people will learn to become responsible citizens.

We are messing up such a naturally beautiful country. Sad to say but we are "full of rubbish." In a tourism-oriented economy, many still fail to see the direct link between caring for the environment and the long-term success of the tourism industry.

There have been letters from visitors to this country in the open columns about the lack of pride and the wrong attitude some citizens have on littering. Sad but true.

The picture on the front page today shows a child doing the right thing. There is a lesson in that for everyone, young and old.

December 16, 2004

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