Lautoka market compost
November 24, 2021
Waste Management and Pollution Control

23 November 2021, Apia - The success of the Lautoka Market Waste Composting Project, in addressing the harmful impact of waste on the environment and public health, was highlighted in front of a global audience on the fifth day of the 3rd Clean Pacific Roundtable. 

Mr Shalend Prem Singh, Senior Health Inspector Lautoka City Council, shared how Lautoka has converted green waste from the market to FJ$63,458, money which has benefitted the Fijian community in different ways. 

Since 2011, the project has turned waste that would have otherwise ended up in the landfill into 2,172 tonnes of compost. Some 121 tonnes of those have been sold to farmers and used to improve the state of the land and environment.

While he admitted that there are lots of challenges, including the impact of the COVID19 pandemic, Mr Singh said they see more value in persisting with a project he believes can only be good for the Fijian people and the environment. 

He referred to the threats on public health if the waste is left unaddressed, noting the alarming increase in the volume of waste generated on a daily basis. The project deals with an average of 1.2 tonnes of waste per day, which is transported to the Vunato Landfill where it is sorted and converted to compost.

Aside from the growing popularity of the project on farmers who have been buying the compost from the Lautoka market, more and more families in the Fiji province have gotten into home composting. With the help of the Fijian government, close to five hundred households have started home composting in their backyards, which is a positive indicator for the bid to keep Fiji clean, Mr Singh said. 

He added that they are strong believers in the 3Rs and is adamant that they are on the right track. He also acknowledged the assistance of their key partners including the Fijian government and the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).

Mr Singh spoke during the Circular Economy Summit Roundtable of the 3rd CPRT, which looked at what circular economy means from a global perspective, a Pacific perspective and how the region can achieve circular economy.  The concept of Circular Economy is a model of production and consumption, which involves sharing, leasing, reusing, repairing, refurbishing and recycling existing materials and products as long as possible. In this way, the life cycle of products is extended.

Co-moderated by Mr Damien Giurco, Deputy Director, Research: Institute for Sustainable Futures, University of Technology Sydney, and Ms Kate Noble, World Wildlife Federation (WWF), the Circular Economy Summit was divided into three Talanoa Sessions. 

The Talanoa 1 Session on “What is Circular Economy” featured Mr Jocelyn Beriot, Executive Lead, International Institutions & Government, EMF, Ms Astrid Schomaker, Director for Global Sustainable Development, European Commission’s Directorate General for Environment, Ms Meredith Epp, of ANZPAC and Dr Karen Raubenheimer, Lecturer ANCORS. The Talanoa 2 Session on “What does Circular Economy look like in the Pacific” featured Mr Mike Ritchie, Managing Director, MRA, Consulting Group NSW, Australia, Mr Singh and Mr Jack Smith, former Operations Manager, Samoa Pacific Games. The Talanoa 3 and final session “How to achieve Circular Economy in the Pacific?” featured Mr Kosi Latu, Director General SPREP, Mr Taufia Patolo, of Tuvalu and Mr Sefanaia Nawadra, Head of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Pacific Office.

The 3rd CPRT is facilitated by the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP), in partnership with the Government of New Caledonia and Acotred Pacific.  The event aims to facilitate networking and dialogue, improve donor coordination, mobilise technical and financial resources and to develop monitoring and reporting methods to monitor progress of the Cleaner Pacific 2025. This year’s meeting, which started on 16 November and ends 25 November 2021 is focusing on:
•    Creating a safe Pacific Circular Economy
•    Waste industry-based enterprise with enhanced public-private partnerships
•    Bridging people and waste: Enhancing consciousness in managing waste

The Third Clean Pacific Roundtable is held virtually from 16 – 25 November.  It is a partnership event supported by New Caledonia, Acotred Pacific, Agence Francaise de Development (AFD), Australian Aid (AUS Aid), European Union (EU), Fonds Pacifique, Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), UN Environment Program, Province SUD and Province NORD.