BY GEORGINA KEKEA
MANAGING waste and controlling pollution for Solomon Islands will require national effort that
includes high-level political leadership, effective policy and legal frameworks, development of
appropriate institutional capacity and changing attitudes starting at individual to community,
provincial and national level.
This was highlighted in the National Government’s Waste Management and Pollution Control Strategy 2017 – 2026.
Launched in November last year, this strategy focuses on managing waste and controlling pollution in the natural environment for the next ten years with the vision for clean, healthy and green happy isles.
As the country enters a period of rapid social and economic change, the framework set out in this strategy will try to address waste and pollution from a very practical perspective.
“The major challenges include land availability for landfills, limited financial resources, limited human resources, poor coordination, limited awareness and poor collection systems.”
However in order to address the waste management issues, all stakeholders must play an important role in managing waste and pollution control.
Many of the waste and pollution issues are said to require collaborative efforts and significant investment of financial capital and broad based awareness campaign.
The strategic plan says to strengthen the manner in which waste is managed in Solomon Islands, there has to be an environment conducive for it to occur.
The enabling environment in terms of policy, legislation and capacity must also be fully realised.
In his foreword address, Environment Minister, Dr Culwick Togamana says the Solomon Islands Government, having recognised the need for waste management and pollution control, developed its first National Solid Waste Management Strategy and Action Plan 2009–2014 in 2008.
“This Strategy has been the country’s roadmap for the improvement of solid waste management over the past five years and has been a catalyst for many initiatives to manage waste.”
Togamana says it emphasised a broad recognition that waste is increasingly a development challenge.
“The timeframe for the implementation of this strategy has come to a close, and the time has come to review the progress of its implementation, reflect on the challenges and lessons learnt and determine what the next steps will be to build on the current progress.”
He said the country’s increasing population, heavy reliance on imported products and changes in consumption patterns stimulated by economic growth also pose significant challenges due to the diversification of waste streams.
“Other prevalent waste streams such as hazardous waste and chemicals, liquid wastes, health-care wastes and electronic wastes were not covered in the previous strategy but are becoming major concerns for the country.
“Management of these types of waste is crucial to ensuring the protection of the environment and people.”
The National Government’s Waste Management and Pollution Control Strategy 2017 – 2026 is said to encompass the management of these different waste streams.
The strategy was developed through an extensive consultative process with government ministries, provincial governments, private sector entities, non-governmental organisations, civil societies and donor partners.
This Strategy addresses five main waste streams: Solid Waste, Liquid Waste, Hazardous and Chemical Waste, Health-care Waste and E-waste.
The Strategy serves as a blueprint for waste management and pollution control that captures the national priorities and targets and identifies the relevant strategies to realise the priority targets in the next decade.