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The old Lami rubbish dump site will soon be turned into a park.
Government is optimistic that the $2.7 million European Union-funded project will attract a lot of people, including tourists.
Deputy Permanent Secretary for Environment Saverio Baleinakacea said benefits from implementing waste prevention strategies were endless.
He said work design carried out by BW Holdings would offer benefits to the local communities and boost tourism.
“These include an increase in income of the target beneficiaries-nearby residents, and a developed tourist attraction site which will improve the general image of Lami as a top tourist destination in Suva,” he said.
Mr Baleikanacea highlighted the risks of having a dumpsite at a residential area and its impacts to the ecosystem and marine life.
“It has been a source of silent pain and sickness for residents of the area,” Mr Baleikanacea said.
“The environmental degradation to the area and to the coastal life has caused a silent and alarming health risk, marine biodiversity loss and has been a persistent air pollutant,” he told the gathering, which included many Lami residents.
European Commission’s directorate-general for development and co-operation, Dirk Meganck, yesterday commissioned the site and toured with officials from the Ministry of Local Government, Urban Development, Housing and Environment.
“The possible use of this site must be properly assessed and appropriately chosen to maximise its proper use,” Mr Meganck said. He said the first phase of work had started on the site and appropriate care must be taken to ensure proper maintenance, especially in the first year.