II. INSTITUTIONAL ARRANGEMENTS FOR INTEGRATING ENVIRONMENTAL CONCERNS
D. Institutions dealing with waste and pollution management
The Ministry of Health is responsible for the Public Health Act. The law of public nuisance under the Act covers a multitude of environmental problems which have harmful effects on health. Some specific areas which are considered to be a nuisance include unsanitary streets, improperly kept water supply, building refuse deposits, animal and bird shelters, factory sanitation, chimneys, overcrowded houses, overcrowded cemeteries, and polluted harbours, rivers, ponds, ditches and foreshores.
Local authorities are vested with powers to control nuisances in their sanitary districts for public health and safety reasons. They are required to conduct inspections to determine the sources of nuisances and to remove them. Health officers or sanitary inspectors have the right to enter premises to examine the existence of a nuisance at any hour of the day.
In response to air pollution, a National Air Pollution Control Unit has been established by the Ministry of Health with the task of planning and implementing air pollution control programmes for preventing and controlling atmospheric pollution. The Unit is in at the teething stage at present and needs further development, including facilities for an industrial chemist and a laboratory with full analytical capabilities.
Surveillance of water quality is carried out by the Ministry of Health pathology laboratory at CWM Hospital. The laboratory carries out regular bacteriological monitoring of drinking water supplies.
The Ministry of Health is also responsible for disease vector control. Dengue fever and filariasis are the two important mosquito-borne diseases prevalent in Fiji at the present time, although the incidence of both diseases is sporadic. Fiji is fortunate in that it does not have malaria and a number of other mosquito-borne diseases.