As an Environment advocator, it is sad to see that every year our natural resources are being exploited at an unsustainable rate.

It is a growing concern that development proponents are gaining economic momentum at the cost of our natural environment. Forests are being cleared, mountains flattened, rivers polluted, corals suffocated as a result of sedimentation, not to mention bleaching to name a few.

Certainly development is here to stay and that raises the flag on the need to strengthen the guiding principles required for development control. As responsible citizens, it would be unethical for one to just sit idle while environmental degradation is taking place right in one’s front yard. The challenge is real, therefore actions must also be taken to address the problem.

For long, the Environment Act 1998, the Wildlife Protection and Management Act 1998 and the recent Protected Areas Act 2010 and their regulations were the tools for environment protection. Later, the Convention on Biological Diversity to promote the conservation of biological diversity and the sustainable use of resources was adopted. However, the ineffective enforcement strategies are the limiting factor to the equation and subsequently placed us somewhere below the international benchmark for environmental protection.

Accordingly, the situation demands for collaborative efforts from the public, private and non-government organization sectors to strengthen their enforcement strategies. I for one, believe in establishing a national Enforcement and Compliance Unit as the way forward to protect our demised environment.

Geoffrey Mauriasi
USP, Laucala Campus, Fiji.