Plastic pollution worries Race for Water Foundation

A not-for-profit organisation dedicated to removing plastic from oceans says the plastic waste situation of Samoa is dire, and they might need to return to assist tackle the problem.

Peter Charaf of the Amsterdam-registered Race for Water Foundation told Samoa Observer they might return—after the completion of their five-year world tour—to assist Samoa tackle plastic pollution.

“Depending on the results of our study here about the plastic waste situation, we might try and come back to implement the solution of transforming plastic waste into electricity,” he said in an interview. 

The Race for Water vessel and her crew arrived in the country last Saturday and have been raising awareness on water and ocean preservation. 

But speaking to this newspaper yesterday, Mr. Charaf said they 6-day stay in Samoa is probably too short and as they underestimated the magnitude of the problem, in relation to plastic waste. 

“We have been surprised that there is no recycling at all for plastic in Samoa, so this situation here is more complicated as its difficult to export plastic. I mean New Zealand will send it back because it’s not clean enough and this kind of things we (Race for Water Foundation crew) have no idea about it before we arrived here”

The crew said all the islands they visited are facing similar challenges to Samoa or even worse. Though, there are some who have the option of freighting out their waste or recycling, but Samoa did not have either one of the options. 

Mr. Charaf said: “There is much need for solution to plastic waste in Samoa. I think the solution to export part of the plastic waste will be the first step, but I think the best idea is to solve the issue on land and find solutions, and to do something with your plastic and not depending on the any other countries.”

School students and members of the public did tours of the Race for Water Foundation vessel while it was in dock, which the crew said was exciting as it was an opportunity to learn the basics of ocean preservation. 

The Race for Water Foundation vessel and its crew leave Samoa today.

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