NUKU’ALOFA – March 28: 3.35pm (Environment): The enforcement of the Environment Management (Litter and Waste Control) Regulations 2016 will come into force here in Tonga from Saturday, April 1.
The campaign will target members of the public and companies who litter or dispose waste illegally, in the move to help keep Tonga clean.
Enforcement officers from the Department of Environment, under the Ministry of MEIDECC, have been working with partners from the Tonga Police Force, Waste Authority and the Ministry of Health in finalising procedures to be followed while enforcing the law.
Preparation had included a meeting with the Solicitor General’s Office here in Nuku’alofa, where the Regulation and its clauses were clarified, along with awareness programmes that had started since the enactment of the Regulation in 2016. Awareness programmes included a number of TV broadcasts, talk back shows, TV and radio spots, school visits, face-to-face consultations with business operators, and public inquiries.
A meeting today at the Davina House in Ma’ufanga saw the enforcement officers discuss the procedures that will need to be followed in the implementation of the enforcement process.
The Regulation outlines the infringements one can be charged for and what fines will be charged for those infringements.
Fines range from $20 per infringement to $2,000, depending on the severity of the infringement.
Spot fines are also options that could be implemented by the enforcement officers.
The enforcement is important so that people can learn to follow the law and be serious about the fact that there are fines that they will pay for the different infringements they make.
The Department of Environment says the enforcement will also see the continuation of the awareness programme on a one to one basis with those caught in the act of littering or disposing of waste illegally.