Pacific Nations Face ‘Serious’ Waste

admin's picture

Pacific Islands Development Program, East-West Center With Support From Center for Pacific Islands Studies, University of Hawai‘i

Management Issues
SPREP adviser links household wastes to climate change

By Daniel Namosuaia

HONIARA, Solomon Islands (Solomon Star, June 4, 2013) – Waste management in the Pacific is a serious problem that needs a holistic approach by governments, relevant authorities, industries, society and individuals.

Esther Richards, Solid Waste Management Adviser to the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environmental Programme (SPREP), said waste management is a serious problem in the Pacific and needs to be addressed.

Richards said despite household waste generation percentages per person in the Pacific is lower compared to developed countries like U.S. and Australia at 2.01kg and 5.70kg respectively, the situation must be addressed.

Studies conducted in both countries have shown that rates from the Pacific are alarming and needs to be urgently addressed.

Studies have shown that Tonga has the highest household waste generation rate per person a day with 0.8kg, seconded by Solomon Islands with 0.62kg, followed by Cook Islands with 0.52kg, Vanuatu at 0.53kg,Samoa 0.48kg,PNG 0.41 and Kiribati 0.33.

She said Pacific island countries are small but their household waste generation rates indicates a serious threat to livelihood since waste management is related to climate change impacts.

She stressed that people need to know that waste generated every day in people’s households, workplaces, factories etc. ended up in landfills and produce dangerous gases like Carbon Dioxide (CO2) and Methane (CH4) which contributes to Green House Gases (GHG) in the atmosphere that warms up the earth.

She said though Pacific GHG emissions are insignificant compared to the rest of the international community, it is important to note that in order to reduce GHG emissions, their needs to be consideration in tackling the problem of waste management in the region.

Richards said Emissions from waste sector in the Pacific is 1.7% of total emissions from the Pacific and is 0.0005% (or 1/2000th) of the global total.

She said these GHG came from activities of recycling, composting, waste treatments and disposal, collection and transportation of waste.

Meanwhile Richards said tough measures need to be taken to address this serious problem.

She said reducing wastes going to landfill through 3Rs (Reduce, reuse, recycle), separation of hazardous waste, storage and final disposal and develop disaster waste management plan are important steps that can be taken.

"Governments, manufacturers, individuals and the society as a whole need to take the responsibility to act and work together to address this problem of waste management," Richards said.

Rate this article: 
No votes yet

Add new comment