By Meleasie Goviro – EMTV News, Port Moresby
According to the findings made by the Conservation and Environment Protection Authority, Papua New Guinea has the highest rate of Plastic Waste Mismanagement among South Pacific Region Environment Programme(SPREP) countries, followed by Solomon Islands, Fiji and Vanuatu.
The challenge for Pacific Islands Countries is recycling plastic waste. Between 1994 and 2013 none of PNG’s plastic or paper wastes has been exported.
CEPA’s findings revealed that by years end, PNG will have used a total of 961 metric tonnes of plastic shopping bags and 1,484 plastic bottles.
Together with NCDC, they have forged a partnership to tackle the issue of plastic waste management by embarking on a Coastal Clean-up Campaign.
From the Coastal Clean-up Campaign, CEPA and its partners hope to achieve
- a clean, plastic-free Port Moresby and Papua New Guinea to the APEC and global communities;
- improved plastic waste management in preparation for the APEC summit in November;
- encourage a responsible industry where importers, distributors and permit holders are aware of the importance of managing plastic bag waste and take appropriate action;
- an increase in the number of affordable reusable shopping bags at all shopping centres;
- and gain support at a National Level from all 22 provinces to support a total ban on plastics.
CEPA waste audits reveal that daily, plastic bottles make up 28% of our entire waste disposal at about 3 tonnes (an average vehicle weighs 1.5 tons). Other Plastics combined are disposed at 6 tonnes daily and 2,086 tonnes annually. In total, PNG sees a total disposal of 10 tons of plastic waste a day and 3,719 tonnes annually; none of them recycled.
While CEPA has revised the regulation to ban the usage of plastic shopping bags by mid-2019, their latest waste audit in Hanuabada Village Port Moresby revealed that plastic bottles outweighed plastic bags in numbers, volume and weight.
482 (47%) of these plastic bottles were Coca-Cola products, followed by Pacific Industries’ bottles at 318 bottles (31%) out of 1, 020 bottles collected.
The question now is how to deal with the wastes once they are all collected. Feasible options identified are to increase of recyclable materials, and support systems like collections methods and transportation, as well as domesticating and establishing potential recycling hubs across the country.
Recycling techniques being considered include turning plastic into oil or fuel, using it as an alternative to fossil fuels like coal, coke and oil.
But for that to happen, available options have to be explored, feasibility studies carried out and an NCD Waste management strategy, including a Material Recovery Flow, needs to be established.
These waste management strategies are expected to reduce health and environmental risks while improving the economy by saving costs on landfill operations and increase export of waste materials.
With APEC coming up CEPA is looking to capitalize on the summits side event, the Clean Pacific Roundtable to discuss options with the international society.