II. ENVIRONMENTAL IMPLICATIONS OF GROWTH AND DEVELOPMENT IN SUVA
C. Waste disposal and pollution
1. Refuse disposal
Solid waste disposal is a significant problem for Suva. Located at the boundary of Suva City and Lami town, the garbage dump has now reached well beyond its capacity. The noxious smell which originates from the dump pervades private homes and affects passing motorists. Pollutants from the dump leach directly into coastal waters used for recreational and fishing purposes (National State of the Environment Report, 1991).
Like most other urban centres, the Suva City municipal rubbish dump is located on a former mangrove swamp. The National State of the Environment Report notes that "this is not a result of being unable to secure other sites, (but) rather that mangrove areas being State land that does not have to be negotiated neither nor does it involve the payment of lease rent. Their use is merely a financial and expediency measure". Mangrove areas are totally unsuitable for garbage dumps unless seepage of pollutants can be contained by lining and bunding the whole area with an impermeable material. There are also social issues involved; scavenging is becoming prevalent at some dumps and is a serious risk to health. The search for an alternate site has been long, and to date unsuccessful. It is clear that if the dump had in the past been managed to acceptable standards, the reaction to having a new site anywhere in the vicinity would not be as vehement as it is at present..
The present Suva City rubbish dump will not meet the standards for "Disposal of Waste on Land" laid down in the draft Sustainable Development Bill. Part VI of the Bill (management of waste; paragraph 74) notes it is clear that refuse disposal and the management of garbage dumps is a national dilemma which requires a firm government initiative with or without the implementation of Bill. Alternatively, municipal authorities require decentralization of power from the central Board of Health, giving them the power to set fees, enforce payment and levy fines.