Compliance officers get legal backing to enforce waste regulations

NUKU’ALOFA-March 14: 3.47pm (Environment): Compliance officers from the Department of Environment, Waste Authority, the Ministry of Health and officers from the Tonga Police Force were today advised about their rights as enforcement officers of the Environment Management (Litter and Waste) Regulations 2016.

Environment officer Filimone Lapaoo (middle) explaining a point during the this afternoon. Photo: R2R MEDIA

A stakeholders meeting this afternoon, hosted by the Office of the Solicitor General helped clarify issues and offer steps that could be taken with possible example of scenarios that the compliance officers could face while enforcing the Regulation.

The meeting was organised in preparation for the enforcement of the Regulation, which is expected to be implemented from Saturday, April 1.
Legal officer Ms ‘Akanesi Katoa took the compliance officers through the Regulation and helped clarify issues that were raised by the officers.
She said that it was important that the compliance or enforcement officers know the law before they start implementing it as people are bound to question them during the enforcement period.
Environment Officer Filimone Lapaoo advised the meeting that a public awareness campaign will start this week so that members of the public are informed about the enforcement and what will be happening.
That will start off with a radio and television programme, which will include discussions on the Regulation and the responsibilities of the different stakeholders, including members of the public.
Copies of the Regulations (in English and Tongan) are on this website.

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