It is estimated that in the Asia–Pacific region the cost of marine litter to marine industries is a minimum of €1.26 billion per year, including losses from tourism, entangled ship propellers and time lost for fishing (McIlgorm, A., et al., 2008). In the EU, it has been suggested that the cost for coastal and beach cleaning is about €630 million annually (Acoleyen, M., et al., 2013; Werner, S., et al., 2016).
Preventing pollution, especially plastics from entering the environment, requires focused efforts on behaviour change (for example, reducing reliance on single-use plastics), improvements in waste management and developing a more sustainable life cycle for wastes such plastics. The steps to improve poor systems of waste management or mismanagement of waste rely on quantifying the scale of the problem and the sources of plastics leakage and other wastes into the system. This quantification had not happened. Gaps in local capacity, as well as details of infrastructure and management systems needed to be quantified and linked to the leaked waste in order to adequately deal with the issues.
Asia Pacific Waste Consultants (APWC) was engaged by the Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (Cefas) to study waste management practices in Solomon Islands and offer best-practice solutions and training to staff who are engaged in the design and delivery of waste services in the country (including provinces).
APWC delivered best practice solutions and training across two phases;
Phase 1 – Local solution case studies
A scoping visit to Solomon Islands was undertaken by APWC in late November early December 2018. The team spent two and a half weeks in Solomon Islands to understand the current capacity of staff implementing waste management initiatives in several remote communities that were visited including
- Five rural communities on the Lunga river in Guadalcanal
- Three rural communities in the island of Malaita
A number of gaps and opportunities for improvement in the provision on waste management services were identified during the process, including;
- Data collection and decision making
- Economic instruments
- Collection services
- Equipment and maintenance
- Contracts and tenders
- Landfill design and management
- Education and engagement
In response, APWC developed a programme to share knowledge and ideas relevant to the Pacific context.
Phase 2 – Best practice show case, February 2019
An intensive three-day training and development opportunity was delivered on 4–6 February 2019 in Sydney. The objectives the showcase was to:
- Transfer knowledge and ideas to the Pacific context
- Share learnings from similar problem waste streams that have been tackled;
- Provide forward insight into ideas that are currently being developed for delivery;
- Build a collaborative relationship between Australia, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu.
There were various reasons for holding the best practice showcase in Sydney which include;
- Previous projects had undertaken study tours to other pacific islands and some of the selected stakeholders had already attended these trips.
- Deposit legislation, organics management and the formation of a Recycling association. To ensure participants got a well-rounded foundation on the principles of both deposit legislation and composting as well as establishing ongoing connections with the waste and recycling association in Australia.
The delegates were chosen based on the following criteria:
- Management of waste collection services in each country
- Management of landfill in each country
- Management of waste management policy in each country
Phase 1 – Local solution case studies
Best practice demonstrations were undertaken in all communities and islands visited to provide residents with ideas on source separation and waste disposal that could be undertaken locally without extensive external intervention.
It was noted that most all communities visited in Solomon Islands were practicing sup sup garden technique (organic gardens) and composting organic waste at the household level. APWC decided to recommend and demonstrate digging of small landfills behind homes to reduce burning of household waste at each of the following communities;
- Lungga river community
- Yellow Bamboo community
- Arabella community
- Ambu community
In addition, in Solomon Islands, APWC decided to focus on policy and planning, rather than community based best practice solutions as a result of the gap analysis conducted. The following five best practice actions were presented;
- Introducing Pre-paid bag system
- Process of introducing a plastic bag ban, including legislation and required paperwork
- Implementing simple low-tech composting techniques using local materials
- Waste and Recycling Association guidance and support from Australian counterparts
- Training sessions focussed on;
- Contract management and tenders
- Container Deposit Scheme
Best practice showcase
The Best Practice Showcase was delivered to delegates from Vanuatu, Solomon Islands and other regional organisations with a presence in the South Pacific from 4–6 February 2019 in Sydney, Australia. Delegates from Vanuatu, Solomon Islands and collaborative organisations including JICA and SPREP attended. Seminars were hosted in the Waste Contractors and Recyclers Association of NSW (WCRA) offices and site visits arranged so that delegates could observe waste management practices first hand. Evaluation of the showcase identified a high level of delegate satisfaction with the programme. All delegate responses were positive. Respondents felt there was a high degree of relevance and professional growth arising from their participation.
The best practice showcase delivered;
- Presentations and site visits providing Australian context
- Candid discussion on a range of waste management areas including;
- contract structures and contract management
- optimised waste fleets and their management
- container deposit schemes (CDS)
- extended producer responsibility schemes (EPS)
- education and engagement.