APIA, 3 September, 2019: The participants of the 29th Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) meeting of Officials were informed of the effectiveness of using local awareness building by working with community leaders and utilizing traditional systems to improve waste management. Wallis and Futuna provided an overview of the Ecological Taxation (EcoTax) as part of the ‘Recycling waste for zero waste’ initiative of the country during a side event hosted by the Territory of Wallis and Futuna and the Fonds Pacifique.
The presentation highlighted the essence of greater understanding and adherence by the grassroot levels and consumers on waste management initiaitives.
“The progressive empowerment of the population created an impact on consumption patterns and increased collection,” said the President of the Assembly of the territory of Walis and Futuna, H.E David Verge at the side event.
He added that the initiative is part of their waste management strategy which seeks ecological and sustainable solutions with the strong conviction that those who pollute must pay.
The adoption of the territorial environmental code on beverages in 2017 is intended to encourage the proper sorting of beverage containers in an efficient manner in order to provide social and economical value for consumers. A tax of $0.12 sene is applied per beverage container less than 75 centilitre (cl) and $0.25 for more than 75 cl.
In practice, a certain amount of money, known as a deposit, is levied on the importation of beverages. After consumption, the containers of these beverages are collected and deposited at the Technical Landfill Centre (TLC) for counting. The local environmental service authority then gives them the corresponding instruction.
Over the past 2 years the EcoTax, which covers the cost of household and industrial waste disposal, has facilitated a higher percentage of redemption of PET bottles, aluminium cans and glass bottles to be recyled by providing communites and consumers more conveniently located sorting and recylcing centres. The initiative also brings about neccesary behaviour change by placing an additional tax for importers and distributors of high sugar content beverages.
Ms. Ateliana Maugateau, Deputy chief of environmental service in Wallis and Futuna, highlighted that the traditional way of life of the archipelago naturally lead them to shift back to ancestral practices.
“It is part of our modernisation plan, although experimental, it provides a rational and logical approach provided we comply with environmental standards and the benefits of the initiative maintains credibility on the population,” said Ms. Maugateau.
She added that the success of their strategy relies on a synergy of partners at all levels working in coordinated manner and encouraged the Pacific island countries and territories to implement similar innovative systems as part of their waste and pollution management initiatives.
The 29th SPREP Meeting of Officials is being held at the Tanoa Tusitala Hotel in Apia, Samoa from 3 - 6 September.
The Meeting will bring together SPREP’s 21 Pacific island Members countries and 5 Metropolitan Members to discuss strategic issues pertaining to the organisation, and to approve the 2020-2021 work plan. The Environment Ministers’ High-Level Talanoa will be held on Friday 6 September.
The 21 Pacific island member countries and territories of SPREP are: American Samoa, Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas, Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, French Polynesia, Guam, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Nauru, New Caledonia, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tokelau, Tonga, Tuvalu, Vanuatu and Wallis and Futuna.
The five metropolitan members of SPREP are: Australia, France, New Zealand, United Kingdom and the United States of America.