People living around White River area have expressed the immediate need to address waste disposal in the area, with community leaders saying their health is at risk.
SIBC visited the Tikopia settlement and saw the state of the environment in the area.
Uncollected rubbish such as plastic bottles and plastic bags were blocking drains, and the stench was unavoidable.
Peter Auriki, a community member, said one of the main problems for their community was the lack of a proper drainage system.
Mr Auriki said the only drain that ran through his community needed to be expanded as the population has spiked over the years, causing more rubbish.
He said the drain’s culvert – or opening – was now blocked, trapping all the rubbish resulting in a major health threat to the community.
“We dug up the culvert – and onto the road – to allow water to flow through because it has flooded some of the houses,” he said.
“This drain transports water and wastes from not only white river but also Tasahe.”
Mr Auriki said they had already approached authorities about it but nothing has been done.”
He said during heavy rain the water level from the drain increased, causing it to invade the residential area.
“More and more people are settling up stream, and they don’t have proper sanitation system, and they just dump everything inside, which ends up on our doorstep,” he said.
“We are worried because it’s not only plastics, it’s also sewage, and our health is at risk.”
Mr Auriki said the culvert was built in 1997, and was too small.
He said the population of White River has increased rapidly, and responsible authorities need to fix the drainage problem as soon as possible before a disease outbreak happens.