Action report from the Solomon Islands

【画像】Name of the Course: “Enhancement of Solid Waste Management Capacity (Advance, Planning and Policy A)”.
Period: June 18th to July 10th 2015.
Position: Environmental Science Lecturer at the Solomon Islands National University
Name: Ms. Mary Margarita Tahu

Waste management issue in the Solomon Islands

Dr Asari giving a lecture on Waste Management at the Solomon Islands National University (SINU) hall. Source/ photographer: Mary Tahu

This report basically looks at the action plan which i have been inspired to take due to my passion about nature and concerns for protecting biodiversity including coastal communities from the increase environmental issues as well as from my one month training and experience in Japan. Working at the environment department at the School of Natural Resources and Applied Sciences (SNRAS) as an environmental science lecturer teaching Waste Management and Pollution control at the Solomon Islands National University and being a member of the committee of the Learning and Ecological Activities Foundation for Children (LEAF) project which SINU is a stakeholder in Honiara city, i now realized that waste is becoming a concern in Solomon Islands.

The Solomon Islands are faced with the critical problems associated with the growing problems associated with disposal of waste and prevention of pollution. Research has shown that in the Solomon Islands, 40 to 50% of waste is organic, essentially half. Still, if the urban population continues to grow at the current rate, non-organic solid waste generation is likely to double in the next 18 years. The Ministry of Environment, Climate Change, Disaster Management and Meteorology (MECDM) under the Environment Act 1998 is responsible for the protection and conservation of the environment. The act empowers and tasks the ministry to assist in the development of legislation and policies and implementing them.

My training experience

Solomon Islands National University (SINU) students listening to the Lecture.Source/ photographer: Mary Tahu

My training course in Japan on waste management was the most inspiring and influential experience. The city base for my training was in Osaka, but our group visited other places such as Hiroshima, Nishinomiya, Kyoto, Kobe and the beautiful island of Miyajima to observe waste treatment and recycling facilities, and organic farming systems as well as schools and communities. After the training I have learned and observed a number of valuable information and skills. Firstly how Japan developed an efficient system to collect, transport, process and dispose wastes. Interestingly, organic waste compost including segregation of wastes was taught and practiced in primary schools, day care center and also at the university level. Also, I learned and appreciate very much how well-mannered people were, how they managed their time wisely. I remember during the training that during lecture period everyone including the speakers will be there before the actual time and of course how clean and beautiful kept the country was.

Initiating lectures on waste management at Solomon Islands National University

Kishimoto Natsuko giving her share of experience and the LEAF project on waste management at the Solomon Islands National University hall.Source/ photographer: Mary Tahu

As part of my training I presented an action plan entitled waste management using composting method through educational awareness in the SI. The plan suggested students to engage in waste segregation and as well as attending a lecture by Dr Asari (LEAF board member), basically to gain more knowledge on waste management. The lecture was successfully carried out by Dr Asari accompanied by Ms Kishimoto on the 29th of September 2015. There were a total of 65 students that comprises year 1 and 2 who attended the lecture.

The lecture was mainly on waste characterization done by students at the Kyoto University in Japan. Her students participate as a part of research activities to help segregation and study the characterization of waste. Later Dr Asari presented the waste composition in the Solomon Islands particularly Honiara city. This was very important because students were able to identify and to understand how waste is becoming an issue that needs immediate action from every individual. The outcome of the lecture included positive feedback from a number of students which raised several questions on what has been carried out, and if so they would like to be part of the waste management program as volunteers.

After the lecture, students were able to engage in segregation and collection of waste during the Solomon Islands National University Open Day held on the 15th of October, 2015. Students were divided into 5 groups and allocated to 5 zones. Each group was provided with 3 garbage bags for: 1) Plastic & plastic bottles 2). Papers and 3). Bottles and aluminum cans. The groups were able to complete their assigned task at each allocated zones by the end of the day.

Possible future action will be organizing students at SNRAS to lead a campus-wide effort to manage organic & solid wastes and also students can make a plan of doing educational awareness to various communities and schools etc. Although recycling facilities to enhance waste management is limited, the combined effort of communities and schools including the university in the involvement in organic composting is a start to tackle the problem of waste in the country.