Working for a greener future

By Vatapuia Maiava 18 May 2016, 12:00AM

The Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (M.N.R.E.) is working with Japan to minimize waste in Samoa.

This is being done through a project involving Japan’s International Cooperation Agency (J.I.C.A.) working with local counterparts on what’s referred to as the Shibushi project.

Yesterday, a meeting at the Samoa Conference Centre allowed project stakeholders to share experiences from the past two years as well as to look for new solutions in terms of waste management.

“This meeting is one of the stakeholder’s consultation meetings for the Shibushi project,” J.P.R.I.S.M. (S.P.R.E.P.) Assistant Chief Advisor, Tualemoso Faafetai Sagapolutele said. “The Shibushi project focuses on waste minimization; we ask how we can minimize waste at the source which includes recycling, reusing of waste and composting.

“This meeting aims to promote to the communities, private sector and government, the importance of implementing those waste minimization practices.”

According to Tualemoso, the solution is simple and is doable if everyone works together.

“If we manage to reduce our waste at the source; homes, companies and businesses, then there will be less amounts of waste to be collected and disposed at Tafaigata rubbish dump,” he said.

“(And) if that amount is reduced then the cost of waste management will be reduced helping out the government and ultimately helping out the private sector that pays for this through taxes.” The group involved with Shibushi is hopeful that their work was not in vain and that they have touched the community with their message.

“This three year project is now coming to its final year,” Tualemoso said. “We hope that before it ends, the message will call out to the community to take this issue seriously. “We have sent representatives from the government, especially M.N.R.E. and members of the community to Japan under this project. “The whole purpose is to build the local capacity so that they can work on their own three R’s which are ‘reduce, reuse and recycle’.”

According to Tualemoso, Samoa is generating ridiculous amounts of waste which effects the environment.

“We generate around 0.4 waste per person every day so if you look at the population today it is almost at 195,000,” he said. “So if we do the math, we are generating about 90,000kg of waste every day in Samoa and most of that waste won’t make it to Tafaigata.

“Some may end up in the back of houses or in the marine environment. “We are trying to look at the full picture of waste and if we are able to put in place those waste reducing factors and practices then it will be good for Samoa in the long run.” According to Hideyuki Suzuki, the J.I.C.A. Samoa Resident Representative, the project has shown some real results in terms of stakeholder awareness.

“The Shibushi project has been implemented for two years and its lessons learnt during the project are being reflected,” he said.

“An example right now is how M.N.R.E. is trying to expand the composting activity to other communities including Savai’i.

“This meeting is a good opportunity to share everyone’s experience and to find ways to cooperate with all stakeholders effectively in promoting the green waste management in Samoa, and then I hope we could successfully launch the future ‘Green Samoa Initiative’.

“The main key elements to green waste management are ‘separation at source’ and ‘stakeholders involvement’ which means all the people in Samoa are responsible for promoting green waste management.”

By Vatapuia Maiava 18 May 2016, 12:00AM

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