Been in Fiji two months now. Every day I try and think of one great thing that has happened and focus on that. I wish I had written them all down earlier, as very soon after the great thing, comes another not so great thing, that makes me forget the feeling I had before. Fiji calls itself a developing nation. That seems to be a catch phrase that is not based on reality, and the ways it is choosing to develop make me reflect on the “civilised” world I have left. To “develop” as a nation seems to imply taking the worst traits of the developed world and making them a way of life.
Pollution is everywhere. From a distance, Fiji is beautiful, but on closer inspection, on every beach, in every stream, in every waterfall, the signs of developing are everywhere in the form of plastic bottles, discarded fast food wrappers, tyres and rusting whitegoods. In a land where so much is provided from the earth, and growing food for the family is easy, the desire for processed food is overtaking, and plastic is swamping the pacific.
No plan has gone into how to dispose of anything at all. There are only two options: 1. burn it in your back yard; or 2. throw it in a watercourse whether that be an open roadside drain, a stream, a creek or river, and hope that the sea will wash it away.
The smell of burning plastic from backyard fires is choking the air on a daily basis. The sea does wash away the plastic and rubbish, but it just washes it onto another beach. The garbage island in the pacific is not limited to the island of trash in the middle of the ocean, but is actually deposited on every beach and harbour, yet still, the appetite for things that come in plastic is insatiable.