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HONIARA, Solomon Islands (January 27, 2002 - Solomon Star/PINA Nius Online)---Imagine how many people accept living in surroundings where waste materials of all sorts lie around.

In a workshop on waste management held in Honiara, South Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) consultant Michael Vari, from Vanuatu, stressed that "waste is a silent killer" many people live with every day.

Waste management has become a problem all over the world, especially in Third World countries, including those in the Pacific region, the workshop heard.

Honiara, by observation, is behind in terms of waste management and cleanliness and the volume of waste is increasing every year compared to such neighboring cities as Suva and Port Vila.

SPREP, a regional body that tries to address environmental issues, has implemented the waste management evaluation project for eight member countries.

"This project is aimed at evaluating waste management in our towns and to make any possible recommendations and plans of action for any national or regional waste management issues," Mr. Vari said.

One issue stressed was the need for public awareness of the problems from lack of waste management.

One workshop participant told how many politicians lack awareness of the importance of waste management and the political will to do something about it.

Another suggested establishing a waste management committee to coordinate and manage waste.

Honiara's waste dumpsite, for example -- though it is said to be outside of the town area -- is not safe for the marine ecosystem in the area, the workshop heard.

Said one senior participant: "Considering the fact that it is located on a swampy area and along the Lunga River, it is likely to create more serious threats to its adjacent marine life.

"We have already witnessed some immediate effects like fish poisoning," he said.

Pacific Islands News Association (PINA) Website: http://www.pinanius.org 

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