News - Sep 26, 2023 Consultations held with Gizo Market Association Members
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