Friday, 20 October 2006

New Environment Act Targets Conservation Of Natural Resources

(GovFIJI PR) - The new Environment Act will look into the conservation of natural resources says Director of Environment Mr Epeli Nasome.

Speaking to the Ministry of Information, Mr. Nasome said there are already existing legislations in place but these do not look at the protection of the environment.

"The Environment Act however looks at the sustainable use of natural resources and it also looks at waste management and pollution control," he said.

Mr. Nasome added the Act puts in place a legal institution like an environment tribunal for cases for non compliant individuals or companies to be taken to task.

And according to the Director, offenders will receive hasher penalties.

"These are what’s in this Act, the appropriate penalties – the penalties that were here before were very low."

Mr. Nasome said with the existing legislation, you could penalize a company up to $400, a very small amount compared to what the company gains.

"With the Environment Act for instance, if someone is found guilty they can be fined up to $250,000 and failing that they have to pay up ‘to $750,000 or face imprisonment for 10years."

Now that the Department of Environment has a full fledged Minister, Mr. Nasome is optimistic the new environment Act will soon be in force with the assistance of their Minister, Mr Pocesi Bone.

"With the Minister in place he will be able to put in place or bring into force a lot of provisions in the Act so we can start the enforcement on people."

The Environment Act will be implemented from 2007 after the Minister for Environment brings these provisions in December this year.


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