Final push to clean up Samoa before Games

The public has been invited to help clean up the river-ways as a community one last time before the Pacific Games kicks off next month.

The urban area’s rivers – Vaisigano, Loimata o Apaula, Gasegase and Fulasou Rivers – are the target of the cleaning bee as they gather swathes of rubbish which ends up in the ocean.

The Government of Samoa, the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Program, and the United Nations Environment Program are behind the clean as part of the Pacific Games Greening the Games Campaign.

Samoa Tourism Authority has lent their slogan ‘Keep Samoa Clean and Plastic Free,’ and the mouth of the Vaisigano River wall has a fresh new mural for the games too, thanks to the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (M.N.R.E) and the Vaisigano river wall Global Environment Fund (GEF) project funding.

Volunteers should gather at Maleafatu Park in Sogi at 6:30am on Saturday to be sent to the different rivers, and a barbeque and game will follow at the park.

The Ministry of Women, Community and Social Development is rallying the villages alongside the waterways to support the cleaning effort as well.

To make the most of the clean-up, S.P.R.E.P is helping the M.N.R.E lead a second waste audit, where the volunteers will sort and count a portion of the waste to analyse.

The data will be used to inform waste management policy in the future.

S.P.R.E.P is supporting the Pacific Games efforts to be cleaner and greener in a variety of ways, including waste sorting systems at the athlete’s village and at the games venues.

“All the vendors that have contracts with the Pacific Games organising committee have in their contracts a requirement to be single use plastic free, and to be sustainable,” said Bradley Nolan, a member of S.P.R.E.P’s Waste Management & Pollution Control team.

“In some cases, large plastic garbage bags are alright, but it’s about no polystyrene , single use bags, bottles, takeaway containers,” Peace Corp Response volunteer Deborah Buckley added.

“There may be a plastic bag that sneaks in like a garbage bag, and I know they are providing the appropriate recycling and waste bins, and collecting organics at the Games Village dining halls.”

Organic waste will be collected by farmers who can reuse it in their composting and on their plantations, but unfortunately won’t be collected from Games venues due to health and safety concerns.

“It was a lot more complicated than the dining halls,” Ms Buckley said.

Waste auditing will also be done at four venues of the Pacific Games during the first week, and hopefully data from that can be used to report back to guests about their waste usage and reiterate the importance of reducing their plastic use.

Guests and athletes will be the most important actors on keeping the Games clean and green by the everyday choices they make.

Visitors are encouraged to carpool where possible to the venues, to choose to use eusable water bottles and containers and to use the rubbish bins provided at the venues which will be sorted by waste and recyclable.

Glass and plastic should be disposed of separately to other waste.

The Pacific Games office has created a ‘Greening the Games’ manual which can be downloaded here.

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