Shipping partnership clearing islands of waste

A total of 24 containers packed with waste have left Pacific island shores and at no cost to the shippers.

Samoa, Fiji, Papua New Guinea and the Marshall Islands have successfully shipped recyclable waste to Brisbane, Singapore, Vietnam and Malaysia for processing, and Kiribati received a shipment of used oil from the Marshall Islands.

Under the Moana Taka Partnership between the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (S.P.R.E.P) and the China Navigation Company or SWIRE Shipping, containers of recyclable waste from the Pacific will be shipped away at no cost to the recycler.

The agreement was signed in March 2018 in order to help small islands deal with their immense amounts of waste, which cannot be recycled onshore.

S.P.R.E.P. Pollution Adviser, Anthony Talouli, estimates each waste management company is saving thousands of dollars with each shipment they send under the Moana Taka Partnership.

Just two containers were sent under the partnership last year, but this year has seen 24 with seven scheduled to leave this month, including a shipment of ozone depleting substances in Samoa heading towards Australia.

So far, Moana Taka has shipped containers of waste cardboard, plastics, scrap metal and sludge waste oil from shipping, Mr. Talouli said.

The Pacific Games Office also utilised the partnership, bringing a container of mobile bins from Australia to Samoa for free.

The innovation of the Moana Taka Partnership is simple: after containers carrying imports are delivered to Pacific Islands, more often than not they leave the islands empty. 

So the China Navigation Company offered to have them filled instead, with recyclable, low value waste that can be sold to recyclers on foreign shores.

Low value waste like scrap metal and oil make little to no money from the recyclers, so shipping costs are debilitating. But with that out of the picture, stockpiles of waste can start leaving the islands, leaving a cleaner environment for everyone. 

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