Greening the Islands Foundation

Sustainable Waste Actions In The Pacific To Make A Difference

Improving sanitation, environmental, social and economic conditions in Pacific islands through proper waste management is at the core of a new four-year project called Sustainable Waste Actions in the Pacific (SWAP).

Fiji, French Polynesia, New Caledonia, Tonga, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, and Wallis and Futuna will be part of SWAP which is funded by Agence Française de Développement (AFD) and implemented by the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP).  It is one of several projects underway across the Pacific islands region to help achieve a Cleaner Pacific.

“We are excited by the opportunities the SWAP opens for our Pacific islands Members, when it comes to addressing their waste problems,” said Mr Anthony Talouli, Acting Director of Waste Management and Pollution Control of the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP).

“We’re very grateful to our partner AFD, for their support in helping to make this happen.  Our waste problem across our region continues to grow, we need help for a Cleaner Pacific, and this SWAP is just one of many initiatives to make it happen.”

To ensure the SWAP was on the right track, a feasibility study was conducted which has helped guide selected actions in different countries.  The project will help improve the delivery of waste services, strengthen the capacity of Pacific communities and local authorities in the areas of technical waste management and help them develop national waste management policies with a global approach from collection, sorting, recovery and proper waste disposal.

SWAP will also help countries explore the possibility of sustainable financing mechanisms such as Advanced Recovery systems which will assist in minimizing waste generation. This would include potentially an Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) scheme or Container Deposit Programme (CDP). EPR is when companies that put products on the market are responsible for the full life cycle of these products and their packaging. CDP is the refund system for empty containers.

Other activities with SWAP countries include training on disaster waste management, used oil management and coastal clean-ups.  Financial support will also be provided for storage collection and on-site disposal of used oil, and activities will be held on land to prevent plastic waste from entering our ocean.

Every action counts towards making a difference as the planet fights the battle of poor waste management.  It is forecast that there will be more plastic then fish in the ocean by 2050 if we continue on this current path.  When it comes to oils, according to Conservation International oil spills account for 12 per cent of the oil in our oceans – three times as much is carried out to see from runoff from our roads, rivers and drainpipes.

Steps must be taken to build the resiliency of our Pacific islands through better waste management.

“We’ve seen the statistics and we’ve also seen the impact that waste can have upon our Pacific islands.  We have a daunting battle ahead of us as we work towards changing behaviour for good waste management practices – prevention is always better than a cure,” said Mr Talouli.

“We can do this – our Cleaner Pacific Strategy for us all across the Pacific has us working towards set goals by 2050.  The SWAP Project is one of many that will empower good waste behaviour across our Pacific islands.”

A virtual inception meeting of the SWAP will be held in December, the start of the four-year project to the value of EURO 3 million with the opportunity to upgrade it to EURO 5 million, as it rolls out.

The Sustainable Waste Actions in the Pacific Project is funded by Agence Française de Développement (AFD) and implemented by the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP).  SWAP will span Fiji, French Polynesia, Tonga, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, and Wallis and Futuna with New Caledonia providing technical backstopping through its best practices.


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