With the help of the Australian government, Niue have a fantastic new Waste Facility ready for operation to collect and recover waste material.
Seeking to provide for the sustainable financing of this facility, and to share the responsibility for Waste Management with private sector importers and consumers, the government of Niue has been progressing with the development of an Advanced Recovery and Disposal Fee (ARFD) Regulation. This regulation will build on and formalise an existing voluntary aluminium can collection scheme undertaken in partnership between the government and the Catholic Church Mission.
The Department of Environment (DOE) is driving the progress of the ARFD. “In addition to sustainably financing the operation of the new Waste Facility, we seek for the ARFD to benefit Niue by helping us reduce approximately 35% of waste currently disposed to landfill, assist clear existing legacy waste stockpiles and reduce future waste stockpiling by an estimated 85%, enhance our “clean, green” tourism branding opportunities, and providing employment and fundraising opportunities for villages and community groups”, says DOE Director, Haden Talagi.
A multi-agency Working Group has been tasked by the cabinet to design the ARFD scheme on behalf of the Niue people. The Working Group has researched and considered options for the operation of the Niue scheme – determining an appropriate arrangement for the Scheme Operator, administration of scheme finances, collection depots, and the role of a Governance Board.
The results from the Working Group and the proposed design of the Niue ARFD scheme will form a Cabinet Paper to be submitted for consideration by elected members.
Various stakeholders participating in a national consultation agreed to support the design and implementation of a sustainable financing system to enhance waste management in the Solomon Islands as it will contribute towards reducing litter, saving critical landfill space, generating revenue to improve waste management, supporting recycling businesses and encouraging recycling.
The consultation led by the Department of Environment and Conservation of the Ministry of Environment Climate Change Disaster Management and Meteorology (MECCDM) with support from the PacWaste Plus programme was held in Honiara and had a number of representatives from the private sector and key government ministries and departments in attendance.
Sustainable financing for waste management systems provides a solution for the long-term management of low-value recyclable materials by providing financial security for the recovery, dismantling, sorting, packing and shipment of materials to recovery and recycling markets. The system represents a funding mechanism designed to facilitate the recycling or recovery of waste.
As part of the PacWaste Plus-funded country project, MECCDMM will be facilitating consultations with all stakeholders to progress the designing of an appropriate sustainable financing system and introducing legislation that will enable the implementation and enforcement of the system.
Participants of the consultations were provided with an overview of the PacWaste Plus programme-supported project being implemented in the Solomon Islands which includes the design and implementation of an organic processing programme in Gizo that will collect and process all organic waste generated at the Gizo market.
Additional support to Gizo includes the construction of an Organic Processing Facility that will receive and process the collected organic materials from the Gizo market, and a recycling facility to process and store recyclables collected in Gizo.
The multisectoral representatives attending the consultation were provided with an overview including the pathways and key considerations in the design of a national sustainable financing system. The national consultation discussed the outcome of the Feasibility Study on the introduction of a Sustainable Financing system in the Solomon Islands. The study was funded by the programme and completed in 2022. Discussions were held on the key recommendations of the feasibility study and a proposed deposit and refund
The information gathered from the consultation will determine the next phase of the introduction of sustainable financing for waste management systems in the country with more planned consultations that will be held which includes drafting legislation to legally administer and delegate specific actions to safeguard the implementation of the proposed system.
The PacWaste Plus programme will continue to work with MECCDMM and key stakeholders to progress country project actions in the Solomon Islands.
Photo Album of Consultations
The Western Provincial Government (WPG) representatives in Gizo, Solomon Islands met with a visiting team as part of a coordinated initiative by the Department of Environment and Conservation of the Ministry of Environment Climate Change Disaster Management and Meteorology and the Programme Management Unit (PMU) country mission and provided an overview on the progress of the country’s proposed Organic processing project to better manage organic waste.
Led by the Permanent Secretary, Mr Patrick Toiraena, the WPG representatives were provided a snapshot of the Solomon Islands project which is focused on establishing a resource recovery programme in the Solomon Islands that effectively diverts organic and recyclable waste from landfill.
Activities that are currently under the design stages include the introduction of an organic processing programme in the Gizo Market, the construction of an organic processing facility, the establishment of a marketing strategy, the introduction of an Advance Recovery Fee and deposit system and legislation in the Solomon Islands to improve recycling rate in the country and the establishment of a recyclable collection centre in Gizo.
The project will also provide training to local officers on the operation of the organic processing facility and targeted education and awareness activities to the Gizo market vendors.
“WPG is thankful to SPREP and the EU-funded PacWaste Plus programme for assisting Gizo with the development of a sustainable processing system that will improve the management of organic waste from our Gizo Market”, said Mr Toiraena.
“We are excited and will work with the programme to assist and progress the implementation stages of this project by enabling the development of the organic and recyclable processing and collection centers”, he further added.
The PMU also informed the WPG representatives of two consultation sessions held with members of the Gizo Market Association to better understand how the programme can enable a meaningful processing system while this opportunity was utilised by the Department of Environment and Conservation to conduct an awareness session on better managing organic wastes in the market to over 32 market vendors, mostly women.
Discussions of the meeting with WPG in Gizo focused on the identification, availability and progress of land clearance to enable the construction of the organic processing facility. The representatives agreed to the recommendation of having an open windrow compost processing system due to the type of waste collected from the Gizo market on a land space of 300-360 m2.
An earlier audit of the Gizo market revealed that 55 percent of the waste is coconut waste, with 31 percent being leaf wraps 14 percent food scraps. An average daily total of 400kg of coconut waste is collected from the Gizo market and disposed of at the landfill along with 220kg of leaf wraps.
The PMU team also visited the Gizo landfill, and an innovative recycling partnership initiative called the Upcycling Hub. The Department of Environment and Conservation will continue to work with the PacWaste Plus programme team to progress the implementation of a number of ongoing project activities in Honiara and Gizo.
Photos from meeting with WPG
Members of the Gizo Market Association in Solomon Islands agreed that organic waste generated daily in the market is not waste at all but a valuable resource and are excited that an organic processing system will now help in not only keeping their market clean but also reducing their waste from going to the Gizo disposal site.
Over 30 vendors, of which 28 were women, who sell their produce daily at the Gizo market, took time out to attend a consultation session organised by the Department of Environment and Conservation from the Ministry of Environment Climate Change Disaster Management and Meteorology (MECCDMM) with the Western Provincial Government, Gizo Town Council, and the programme management unit.
The consultations held with the market vendors were to better understand and inform the design of initiatives and processes needed to reduce the amount of organic waste going into the Gizo disposal site from the market daily.
MECCDMM with the Western Provincial Government, Gizo Town Council with support from the PacWastePlus team is designing for implementation a project in Gizo to collect and compost all organic waste generated at the Gizo Central Market.
The market vendors learnt that composting organics saves landfill space as 60 percent of the material removed from landfill will almost double the life of the Pacific’s rapidly-filling landfills and how beneficial for soil compost can be as it is considered black gold because of its many benefits to soil.
The Environment Officer from the MECCDEMM reminded the vendors that valuable resources such as mulch, compost, and soil are some resources that can be made from organic material that is thrown in abundance every day at the Gizo market and end up in the landfills.
“These are valuable resources that are thrown away and can be sold for profit. Buyers can include commercial gardens especially organic growers who do not use chemicals, hotels and resorts, community gardens, households and our local council,” said Mr Michael Suinao from the Environment Unit of the Environment & Conservation Division.
The market vendors were informed that composting also reduces climate change as when organic waste is dumped in a landfill, it undergoes anaerobic decomposition, because of the lack of oxygen and generates methane. This methane is 25 times more potent as greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide.
“An audit done at the Gizo disposal site revealed that 24 percent of the waste dumped daily was organic waste while 18 percent was paper and cardboard, but we know both these can be composted,” he further added.
Members of the association requested more similar awareness sessions at the Gizo Market to enable the growing number of vendors that set up stalls to sell their produce to have a better understanding of how they can also better manage their organic waste and recyclables.
“We thank the Department of Environment and Conservation and the team from the SPREP and EU PacWaste Plus programme for discussing with us this sustainable initiative of turning our organic waste into compost which is a valuable resource for our community and helps take better care of our environment,” said Ms. Joyce Zoti, the Market Vendors Association President.
“Here in Gizo we have village-based awareness sessions conducted by the World Development Community organization on many different topics and it will be beneficial for the Department of Environment and Conservation to integrate their messages in these community-based sessions,” she further added.
“There is a need for proper segregation and collection bins at the market as this will help the vendors to keep the market clean and also separate the different types of wastes, we produce at the market”, said a market vendor.
“The Ministry of Fisheries here in Gizo do regular awareness at the market and more awareness sessions to the vendors in the market will help manage our organic waste as so many new vendors come and set up stalls to sell their produce every day too”, said another member of the association.
“The idea of turning our organic waste into a resource really is great not only for our community benefits but also for our environment, we need to reduce all the things we are throwing in our overfilled disposal site, it’s already so full”, said another.
“A billboard just opposite our market will be a great way to remind us, that we are only human, and sometimes we forget what we learn, but the message on the billboard will constantly remind us to do the right thing with not only our organic waste but also learn to segregate what we throw away”, said a Gizo market vendor.
The PacWaste Plus team will continue to work with MECCDMM, the Western Provincial Government, Gizo Town Council and the market vendors association to support the design and implementation of a sustainable organic processing system and education and awareness activities for the market vendors in Gizo so the organic processing system can be utilised properly.
Photos from Consultations held with Gizo Market Association Members
The pristine beauty of the beaches in the Solomon Islands is under threat by the staggering amount of waste that accumulates on its shores. To combat this environmental challenge, community beach clean-ups have emerged as a powerful movement. These initiatives not only aim to remove rubbish but also educate and inspire community members to actively participate in recycling, reusing, and proper waste management practices.
The Environment and Conservation Division of the Ministry of Environment Climate Change Disaster Management and Meteorology (MECCDMM) with the Honiara City Council and volunteers from the Renlau community coordinated a clean-up initiative of the community beach and the Mataniko riverfront.
The initiative was supported by the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) implemented and European Union-funded PacWaste Plus programme as part of ongoing SPREP support towards the Greening of the Games efforts for the upcoming Pacific Games and to obtain useful baseline data to assist in the design and implementation of a pilot behaviour change project to improve waste management practices of a community upstream on the Mataniko River.
The community volunteers braved the heat and together removed a total of 1,676.74 kg of rubbish from the beach and riverbank. Of the litter collected plastic PET Bottles amounted to 253kg and Butane Gas Cans amounted to 117kgs.
“Engaging the local community is important in organising successful clean-ups, by involving the community the collective effort becomes more impactful and the sense of ownership and responsibility fostered within the community helps create a long-lasting commitment to preserving the coastal environment”, said Ms. Debra Kereseka, Deputy Director Environment, Environment, and Conservation Division.
The Deputy Director highlighted that one of the main objectives of the clean-up activity was to promote recycling and reusing practices and community volunteers were encouraged to separate waste into recyclable and non-recyclable categories, thereby reducing the amount of waste that ends up in landfills. Additionally, reusable containers and bags are provided to participants to minimize the use of single-use plastics during the clean-up activities.
“Community clean-ups go beyond simply picking up rubbish, but can be catalysts for change as they offer an opportunity to educate participants about the importance of proper waste disposal, available options, and the harmful effects of litter on marine life and our health”, said the Deputy Director.
“By engaging and equipping the community with knowledge, these initiatives empower them to make more sustainable choices in their daily lives and play a vital role in keeping our oceans and rivers clean”.
The community volunteers expressed that more needs to be done within communities to better manage the waste that is generated. The Department of Environment and Conservation with assistance from programme has engaged a consultant to design and assist in the implementation and monitoring of a behaviour change project that is being rolled out over a 12-month period.
“This is not the first time I have taken part in cleaning up our beach but that is what concerns me, we seem to be cleaning it every month or two but the rubbish just keeps getting washed up on our beaches and the piles of rubbish just get bigger and bigger”, said a volunteer.
“Our people need to be aware that not all waste needs to be thrown away, it can be recycled, reused, and even composted”, said another volunteer.
“It is unbelievable the amount of plastic bottles and other recyclable waste that wash up on this beach we just cleaned up, it is like our ocean and rivers have had enough and keep throwing up all the rubbish that people throw in them. We as a nation need to work together to better manage our waste and it starts with simple things like sorting your rubbish at home and stop throwing rubbish into the rivers and ocean”, added another.
The PacWaste Plus programme will continue to work closer with MECCDMM through collective action and a shared commitment to the environment, to create a sustainable and greener future for the local communities. As part of the programmes country mission, the programme team will progress more project actions in the Western Province with the Gizo market vendors and the Western Provincial Government.
Photos from the clean-up