Samoa’s new recycling body targets a pollution-free Pacific
The new Samoa’s Recycling & Waste Management Association (S.R.W.M.A.) for businesses committing to recycling has been established in Samoa.
“Our members have worked hard to get this association established, and it’s only the beginning,” said Marina Keil, Managing Director of Waste Management Co. Ltd. in Samoa.
“Having a platform where we can work together, lobby and share ideas, will not only benefit our environment and manage waste in an environmentally friendly manner but also empower our small islands towards sustainable recycling.”
“We are open to new members in Samoa and abroad who are looking to manage their wastes and increase their options for material re-use.”
Association members include B.E.S.T, Hyundai & Ford Service Centre, Senese Inclusive Education, Soil Health Pacific, One Scrap, Pacific Recycle, Metal Man, Vailima Breweries, Waste Management Co., and Youth With A Mission (Y.W.A.M.) Samoa, partnered with the Japan International Cooperation Agency (J.I.C.A.) and Samoa’s Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment.
These efforts are part of a growing fight against pollution around the world, showcased at the U.N. Environment Assembly this week in Nairobi, Kenya. U.N. Environment supported the creation of Samoa’s Recycling & Waste Management Association.
“Our goal is a Pollution-Free Planet, and Pacific individuals, business owners and leaders are taking action toward that goal,” said Sefanaia Nawadra, Head of the U.N. Environment Pacific Office. “We’re pleased to see this initiative from those on the front lines of resource re-use and waste management in our islands.”
Reducing and managing waste in the islands is directly linked with ocean pollution because of the close connections with coastal and marine spaces. Marine litter has been recognized globally as one of the major threats to marine ecosystems. Plastic pollution alone causes at least $8 billion in damage to marine ecosystems each year.
“The Samoa Recycling & Waste Management Association is the first of its kind in the Pacific Island Countries, and we hope it will be one step towards realizing a Pacific Region Recycling Association. The Samoa W.R.A. will allow recyclers in Samoa to promote their business and speak in one voice with the related government agencies and international donors on their aspirations and concerns for the recycling business,” said Mr Mahmoud Riad, 3R+Return J.I.C.A. Expert at the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (S.P.R.E.P.).
“Together they can also tackle waste items that have so far been difficult to recycle, such as plastics and glass, while finding ways to increase volumes of recyclable materials from the region. 3R + Return is the only practical way forward, and I look forward to working with the Association.”
Pacific countries are taking action under the framework of a regional strategy, called Cleaner Pacific 2025, implemented with the Cleaner Pacific Roundtable and the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (S.P.R.E.P.).
“We have helped neighbouring islands like Tokelau, Pago and Vanuatu over the past years with recycling. Each island has their own strengths and weaknesses in different areas of recycling, and if we can come together on a regional level, we not only can help but also benefit from each other, to overcome the challenges that are restricting us to move recycling in the Pacific to the next level,” said Ms. Keil.
U.N. Environment supports Pacific countries to meet Sustainable Development Goals that target and mitigate pollution, including prevention and reduction of marine pollution. Pacific policies and bans are part of efforts U.N. Environment supports under the Clean Seas campaign, launched in February this year to eliminate microplastics in cosmetics and drastically reduce single-use plastic by the year 2022.