The Pacific Recycling Foundation (PRF) has received a timely grant from the Australian Government through its Direct Aid Program for the construction of a portable wash, kitchen, and storage facility in Vunato, Lautoka that will benefit around 50 Collection Pillars of Recycling (CPR), formerly known as informal waste pickers.
Informal waste pickers comb through the Vunato dumpsite for most parts of the day to collect recyclables such as plastic, aluminum material, and copper wires which they sell to recyclers to earn a living.
“They play a vital role in environmental sustainability and to the longevity of the dumpsite by removing recyclables and other waste materials from leaking into our environment,” said PRF’s Founder, Amitesh Deo.
“We are grateful for the Australian Government’s support to provide safe, decent, and dignified facilities, particularly for the women CPR and members of the LGBTQI+ community who come from vulnerable communities,” Deo mentioned.
Deo remarked that some CPRs have been doing this work for over two decades and contribute about 30 percent of the waste removed from landfills and dumpsites each year.
He also acknowledged the Lautoka City Council for their partnership in this project and ongoing commitment to empowering the CPR community.
Australia’s High Commissioner to Fiji, Ewen McDonald said they are pleased to support an initiative that is providing opportunities for economic empowerment, training, and new facilities to support the health and well-being of the people who play a central role in recycling in Fiji.
The PRF’s programs is designed to create awareness of recycling and provide structured support to CPR and aligns with United Nations Sustainable Development Goals such as promoting sustained inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment, and decent work for all.
PRF continues to promote protection of labour rights, safe and secure working environments for all workers, reducing inequality within and among countries, and social, economic, and political inclusion of all, irrespective of age, sex, disability, race, ethnicity, origin, religion or economic or other status.