Association to push greener Samoa, Tokelau

The Samoa and Tokelau Association of Recyclers (S.T.A.R.) was officially launched on Thursday with its core objective being the reduction of waste and creating a greener future for both countries.

The association was launched at the Lava Hotel on Thursday afternoon with the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment C.E.O. Frances Reupena Brown emphasising the importance of the association in her keynote address.

Mrs. Brown said Samoa's economy is vulnerable to external shocks including the impact of climate change and is dependant on imported goods and products for its population's consumption.

"As we have seen over many years, changing lifestyles, consumption and production patterns, the amount of waste generated has significantly increased," she said.

Making reference to various studies, Mrs. Brown said the country's waste is directly linked to ocean pollution, which is drawing global attention and growing concerns over health issues, ocean health, biodiversity and food security.

"And we share the same concerns as a small island state because our livelihoods are very much dependant on our ocean resources," she said.

"The launching of S.T.A.R. is therefore timely and we very much welcome and we look forward to the additional support and contribution by star and its members as crucial and equal partners to address waste management issues in our country and in Tokelau.

"I commend S.T.A.R. and its members in their efforts to reach out to include Tokelau in this great initiative.

"We need all the help we can get as well as increased access to resources available."

Mrs. Brown also emphasised the need for engagement of all partners and at all levels, especially at the local level while applauding the efforts of all partners to try and recycle, effectively moving Samoa away from a linear economy.

According to Mrs Brown, these efforts are in line with Samoa's integrated Waste Management Strategy 2019-2023 which strongly promotes recycling.

"I acknowledge and commend the commitment of S.T.A.R. members who are setting a great example of businesses collaborating through a shared and common goal, passion, and commitment to reduce waste and pollution in Samoa and Tokelau by taking responsibility for waste they are generating as businesses," she said.

She added that there are immense opportunities here to strengthen the existing efforts in waste management while creating innovative solutions, such as the creation of green jobs at a time where economies have declined, and social security is affected with high rates of unemployment due to the pandemic. 

Mrs. Brown urges all of their partners to work together, collaborate and coordinate our efforts, share expertise and resources for the benefit of our countries and the people.

"It is not a one man or a one woman job, we all need each other to realise our mutual goals in line with our national priorities," she said.

The President of S.T.A.R. Mary Vito Alefosio gave thanks to all the partners in her address at the association's launching.

"I would like to express my sincere appreciation to everyone who generously helped us make this event possible," she said before thanking the Government of Tokelau and acknowledged them as a core member of the association.

Mrs. Alefosio also thanked M.N.R.E. and said S.T.A.R. looks forward to working closely with the Ministry to take action, pursue and expand recycling opportunities in Samoa

She revealed that S.T.A.R. was formally established May 2021 with its vision to keep and Samoa and Tokelau cleaner and greener for future generations, with a mission to reduce the amount of waste.

A Memorandum of Understanding was then signed by the representatives of S.T.A.R. and Tokelau.

Associate Member of the S.T.A.R. and the Samoa Stationery and Books (S.S.A.B.) Chief Executive Officer, Tofilau Fiti Leung Wai also attended the official launching of the new association.

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