“We are our environment”

Plastic bottles packed and ready for recycling at the Yokohama City Recycling Plant. Photo: ILIESA TORA

By ILIESA TORA (National Communication/Information Officer)

Nuku’alofa – December 10, 2019: 2pm (Enviro News): There were many take-aways I gathered from my recent two weeks media tour of Japan in late October.

But one that I believe is most appropriate for us here in Tonga is the statement made by some local Japanese officials during the tour of waste management projects.

That is that “we are our environment”.

Yokohama City official explaining the 15 types of waste that the people of the city classify their waste into – separating recyclables and those that can be burnt. Photo: ILIESA TORA

Basically translated it means that our environment tells stories about us.

From the JICA Head Office’s Waste Management Office to the Yokohama City Council office the message was one – we need to take ownership of our environment and be responsible enough to manage our waste wherever we are.

It was a message that I thought is relevant for us here in Tonga and the Pacific.

There is so much that we can do but we are not doing here in the Pacific, Tonga included.

We are still taking things for granted and continue to throw rubbish everywhere and anywhere, even with rubbish bins in full sight.

While records are showing that illegal dumping of rubbish continues to be a problem here in Tonga, many still go out of their way to continue doing the same.

One only has to travel down to Sopu and see what I am talking about.

Or follow the tracks along mangroves in Popua or Havelu and Tofoa for that matter.

At the same time we are also seeing an increase in plastic waste floating around our beachfronts and shorelines.

The Japanese believe that our environment basically tell stories about us.

Unfortunately for us that is real….So the challenge is on all of us….to start learning to manage our waste and start dumping rubbish in the right places.

This festive season that is the challenge we all have.

We need to keep our environment clean. We have to ensure that our Tonga is clean and healthy.

Our children deserve to have a better Tonga.

The onus is on all of us to make sure of that.

We are our environment.

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