News - Mar 21, 2024 Applying Stewardship Principles for Waste Management in Tonga

“Stewardship is a key principle of our work, ” says Ms. Katrina Fatiaki Co-founder of the No Pelesitiki Campaign. “By taking seriously our role as stewards of our environment, we work with youth to undertake clean-up initiatives and educate our communities on waste pollution. The idea behind a Product Stewardship Scheme is aligned to this concept, we should be stewards of the products we purchase and take seriously the role we play in ensuring, once the product is consumed, we appropriately manage the waste produced.”

This sentiment was echoed around the room at the first Working Group Meeting held by the Ministry of Meteorology, Energy, Information, Disaster Management, Environment, Climate Change and Communications (MEIDECC) seeking stakeholder views to inform the Feasibility Study on a Product Stewardship Scheme for Tonga.

Stakeholders in Tonga have many waste initiatives underway. In addition to the work by the No Pelesitiki Campaign, MEIDECC is representing Tonga at the INC global plastic treaty negotiations, the Waste Authority Limited is progressing with a waste levy to finance their operations and working with donors to expand the number of items they can collect and manage, and the Recycle Association are collecting and safely stockpiling end of life vehicles and other materials to consolidate and minimise environmental pollution.

MEIDECC, seeking a framework to align and support the projects and provide long-term sustainable financing for waste management in Tonga, sought PacWastePlus support to undertake the Feasibility study.

“We thank everyone for their time and engagement at the meeting,” says MEIDECC Senior Environment Officer Mr. Filimone Lapaoo, “MEIDECC seeks to understand how a scheme could benefit the regulators, service providers, and private sector”.



The meeting participants supported a scheme, particularly as it will provide for community fundraising.  The multi-agency Working Group will be brought together again to review the results of the Feasibility Study and provide comments for MEIDECC to consider as they progress with the scheme design.

The Feasibility Study will be completed by the end of April, providing MEIDECC with a legislative guidance note and an implementation plan to guide a possible pathway forward.