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 Vanuatu 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 conducted a training gap analysis 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
Both, training and best practice actions undertaken by APWC were based on this gap analysis. Training was delivered in two phases in Vanuatu over a three-month period commencing in November 2018 – February 2019.
- Phase I November 2018: Waste data collection and monitoring
- Phase II February 2019: Use of data for decision making, capacity building through technical training and collaboration with other counterparts
Phase I – extensive waste-audit and data-collection training was provided to eight staff from Port Vila Municipal Council (PVMC) and LMC.
APWC engaged local council staff in;
- The process of developing the protocol for the waste audits
- Undertaking collections, sorting of waste
- Recording the observations as well as inputting data for analysis
- The staff also assisted APWC staff to undertake household and commercial waste interviews. The various steps are described below:
- Developing a protocol
- Waste collection and interviews
- Waste sorting
Topics of training
- Collection of samples and completing corresponding paperwork
- Sorting of garbage and recycling
- Identification of material to 40 categories
- Recording information
- Conducting stakeholder interviews
- Commercial premises
- Litter audits
Phase II training was conducted over a three-day period in February 2019. Sixteen delegates from PVMC, the Ministry of Environment and provincial government attended a three-day training workshop that included site visits and presentations from their colleagues at LMC. APWC was able to refine and develop country specific training to focus on closing the gaps in service and supporting waste management strategies that would lead to the greatest improvements.
The objectives of the workshop were to:
- Enhance the understanding of waste data, using data to make decisions, and undertaking ongoing data collection activities to help achieve better waste management outcomes;
- Improve co-ordination and communication between the two municipal councils;
- Support the development of local waste management specialists and experts for sustainable provision of the needed waste management technical advice and assistance to governments and the people of Vanuatu; and
- Enhance technical capacity of waste management staff to meet the needs of future planned activities such as CDL.
Topics covered at the three-day training workshop included;
- Day 1 – Field visits LMC waste management initiatives
- Day 2 – Outreach activities, 45 sets of source separation, appropriate disposal of sanitary waste and composting brochures provided to Tutbua community, further outreach activities to continue.
- Day 3 – Waste data, initiative sharing legislation and training.
The workshop also covered policy instruments such as container deposit legislation (CDL) and the extension of the plastic ban. The workshop brought together all key staff and officials responsible for waste management in different municipalities and levels of government, notably bringing together staff from PVMC and LMC for the first time since 2008. These seminars provide a strong foundation for future, ongoing collaboration between the two municipalities, the Ministry of Environment and provincial governments.