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.
In 2018, CLiP contracted Asia Pacific Waste Consultants (APWC) to study waste management practices in Solomon Islands and offer best-practice solutions and training to staff engaged in the design and delivery of waste services. A number of problem waste streams were identified during the waste audit process carried out in 2018. In response, APWC developed a programme to share knowledge and ideas relevant to the Pacific context. The objective of the programme was to build collaborative relationships by sharing solutions and lessons learned in the Australian context to help tackle marine litter and broader waste issues.
APWC team spent three weeks during late November and early December 2018 in Solomon Islands to understand the current staff capacity to implement waste management initiatives in both Guadalcanal and Malaita. A training gap analysis was also conducted consulting numerous stakeholders to ascertain current workloads, capacity to delivery services, previous training history, history with the organisation and understanding of the gaps in training and capacity.
Stakeholders consulted included;
- National and international agencies,
- Municipal councils
- NGOS and community groups
- Provincial Government, Islands and contractors
Nine major themes emerged.
- Basic data collection and management skills
- Design and implementation of waste collection systems
- Design and implementation of economic instruments
- Equipment and maintenance
- Contracts and tenders
- Landfill design and management
- Education and engagement
- Waste management strategy and monitoring
Phase I – extensive waste-audit and data-collection training was provided to ten staff from Honiara City Council and Malaita Province.
APWC engaged local council staff and provided training in;
- Collection of samples and completing corresponding paperwork
- Sorting of garbage and recycling
- Identification of materials to 40 categories
- Recording information
- Conducting stakeholder interviews
- Commercial premises
Phase II – training was conducted over a two-day period in March 2019. A total of thirty to fifty-five delegates attended from organisations national, provincial local government, NGO’s, local community and church groups.
The objective of the workshop were to:
- Enhance the planning, presentation and writing skills of the staff responsible for waste management at the national, municipal and local level. The skills developed include helping rural communities in the planning and development of simple and brief annual waste management plans in line with the National Waste Management Strategy of Solomon Islands.
- Improve national co-ordination and implementation of the national waste management strategy and action plan at the provincial level.
- Support the development of local waste management specialists and experts in Solomon Islands for on-going provision of the waste management technical advice and assistance to the government and people of Solomon Islands.
Topics covered at the two-day training workshop included;
- Day 1 – Overview of current national plans and policy, presentation on the current waste management challenges, impacts of waste and litter on human health and the environment current solid waste management practices and challenges, development of waste management plan, turning wastes in to resources.
- Day 2 – Development and presentation of draft waste management plans
- Training delivered to fifty-five delegates
- Development of draft waste management action plan for Malaita Province
- Development Malaita Waste Management Committee
- Delivered one of the actions in the Solomon Island National Waste Management Plan
- Plastics re-use demonstrations local community groups
- Brought together all key staff and officials responsible for waste management, generation and recycling throughout Malaita.