III. EXISTING INSTITUTIONS AND MEASURES FOR INTEGRATING ENVIRONMENTAL CONCERNS INTO DEVELOPMENT PLANNING AND DECISION-MAKING FOR SUVA CITY
G. Technical criteria, guidelines and standards for urban pollution control
The discharge of wastes, particularly industrial wastes, into the environment, and the consequent effects on air, water and soil quality is a matter of major concern to Suva City. Yet Fiji has no promulgated water quality criteria or guidelines. WHO guidelines are used as a de facto standard for protecting the quality of reticulated drinking water, and the quality of drinking water provided by PWD in Suva meets those standards. Only 2.5 per of the urban households in Fiji do not have access to safe water (Ahlberg, 1996). Other beneficial uses of water are unprotected. Similarly, Fiji currently has no legally-enforceable effluent standards for industry except for the Standards for Effluent Discharge to Ports prepared by the Ports Authority in 1990 (Irvine, 1992). A comparison of the Fiji and Australian effluent discharge standards indicates that the requirements for the Fiji Ports Authority Standards can vary from 5,000-10,000 times with Australian standards (Irvine, 1992). Irvine concluded that with such environmental standards some damage was likely to occur.
For sewage treatment, the effluent standards currently employed are in accordance with those commonly used elsewhere in the world. However, there is no regulation legally specifying such standards. Standards do not exist for other effluents or air polluting emissions. There are no standards, regulated or de facto, for noise emission. Soil in the vicinity of factories and treatment plants can become polluted with toxic and long-lasting chemicals. However, there are no soil quality guidelines. The lack of legally-enforceable pollution control criteria means that it is almost impossible to manage environments which are already known to be polluted, such as creeks and the harbour in Suva, as well as the air. With the lack of systematic monitoring and its resultant data, it is impossible to objectively ascertained whether pollution levels are getting worse, stabilizing or improving. However, the subjective and ad hoc evaluation is that the situation has deteriorated significantly in recent years.