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As pubished by the Info - Eather Group on Wednesday, July 05, 2017

WiSE program participants studying waste management during Fiji tour


Article by the Hawkesbury Gazette, 5th July 2017

IN THE FIELD: Sally-ann co-owns Eather Group, a local truck and earth moving business which is centred around recycling natural materials. SALLY-ANN Eather is one of eight high-achieving female students studying science and engineering at Western Sydney University who have embarked on a study tour of Fiji, focussing on waste management.


The students are participating in a seven-day study tour to Nadi, Lautoka and Suva, as part of the Women in Science and Engineering (WiSE) Program.

WiSE Program coordinator, Wendy Truelove, said the students will be getting "an intensive crash course in the real-world applications of science and engineering”, by visiting a developing country, and learning about one of its most critical environmental challenges. She said waste management had been identified as a complex and significant issue in Pacific Island countries where the challenges are magnified by geographical isolation, limited land area and economic factors. "On the tour, the students will be investigating problematic waste items - such as plastic, batteries and health-care waste - and following the pathway of these products from importation to disposal,” said Ms Truelove. "We have some significant high level meetings planned - with the World Bank, Asian Development Bank, European Union Delegation to the Pacific - as well as visits with local councils, the private sector and a Christian ministry women's project at the grassroots level. "The students will also visit Fijian businesses and agencies; waste disposal sites; composting facilities; city and rural food markets and conduct their own analyses of environmental issues."

Sally-ann Eather is studying a Bachelor of Sustainable Agriculture and Food Security at WSU Hawkesbury. Seven years ago, she and her husband created Eather Group, a local truck and earth moving business which is centred around recycling natural materials. “My ultimate goal is to turn materials that would otherwise be classified as waste materials into agricultural products such as topsoil and compost,” she said. “It will be good for me to see how the waste and recycling process works in Fiji. I’m particularly interested in the challenges for waste transportation in the country seeing as Fiji is made up of many islands. "My business has been more about earthmoving so I’m new to the agricultural industry and am keen to learn more about what l can be doing to recycle the natural materials we work with every day."

The study tour will allow Sally-ann to combine knowledge of her degree and business experience from an Australian context and compare it to the waste methods used in Fiji. The study tour group includes women studying medical science, chemistry, biology, sustainable agriculture and food security, forensic science, and education.

Sourcing clays, shales from Sydney basin to supply to brick works for brick making use along with sandstone waste to resource.