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NATIONAL, DILI, ENVIRONMENT

Govt must take the fight against plastic pollution seriously

Govt must take the fight against plastic pollution seriously

Academician of the Lorosa'e National University (UNTL), Mário Cabral (photo/special)

DILI, 09 june 2023 (TATOLI) – Academician of the Lorosa’e National University (UNTL), Mário Cabral, has called on the government to seriously tackle plastic pollution in the country.

More than 20 years after gaining its independence, Timor-Leste is still struggling to tackle plastic pollution, with every single piece of plastic being seen across the country.

Despite a number of measures that have been implemented in Timor-Leste, the pollution crisis has not yet been solved and it required serious action and commitment from the government.

The pollution crisis remains unresolved due to poor waste management policy, the carelessness of Timorese people in littering in public spaces, and the lack of dustbins in certain communities and neighborhoods.

Cabral suggested that in order to tackle plastic pollution in the country, the Government should not put the blame on people, but come up with good policies and approaches to solve the issue. 

He said that one of the ways to solve the pollution in the country is through the implementation of the 3Rs Waste Management – Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. 

“Government must install Red, Green, and Blue Dustbin in the communities for the segregation of the wet waste and dry waste. Meanwhile, the government also needs to sensitize and raise communities’ awareness on how to use these rubbish bins correctly,” Cabral told TATOLI, in Dili.

Cabral emphasized that in order to ensure people use dustbins properly, the Government must provide incentives to encourage communities to sort and separate waste for recycling and easy disposal. 

He said that it is time for the upcoming government to be serious about the implementation of the littering penalties. 

“Another step for Timor-Leste to solve its pollution crisis is for the government to introduce and implement the Circular Economy policy,” Cabral suggested.

The circular economy policy requires the government and industries to stick to three fundamental principles – by design: eliminate waste and pollution; circulate products and materials (at their highest value); and regenerate nature. 

The representatives of Timor-Leste, last year, pledged at the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee on Plastic Pollution’ in Paris, to implement the Circular Economy in the country. 

Cabral also urged the next government to create a Ministry of Environment so that Timor-Leste has the capacity to fight pollution in the country.

“The Secretary of State for Environment does not have enough power and capacity, so we need a much bigger institution like the Ministry of Environment to address the pollution crisis in the country. This would lead us to achieve our goal of protecting 30 percent of our land and oceans by 2030,” he recommended.

Cabral revealed that according to UNTL’s beach clean-up activities in Dili, one person could collect up to 3.5 Kg of wet and dry waste in one hectare: “This means that our beaches are polluted with a lot of waste. In addition, we also collected more than 18 Kgs of ghost nets per hectare in the deep waters of the Cristo Rei area, which seems to have damaged the ecosystem of our coral reefs.” 

All in all, Cabral concluded that despite a number of measures introduced in the country – zero plastic policy, green schools, and so on, but plastic can be still seen everywhere in the country. 

Related News:https://en.tatoli.tl/2023/06/08/tl-requires-collective-action-to-protect-its-sea-and-marine-resources/12/

 

Journalist: Filomeno Martins 

Editor: Nelia Borges

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