A review of key environmental sectors with priority projects recommended for International Waters Project consideration

 

 

Abel Tapisuwe                                                                       P.O.Box  951

Albert Williams                                                              Tel: (678) 229115

Michael Vari                                                                   Fax: (678) 224510                  

FSP- Island Consulting                      Email: Islandconsulting@fspi.org.vu

 


Acknowledgements

This report was made possible by the support, and contributions of a number of individuals and organizations:

 

Firstly we are in debt to Coordinator of Vanuatu International Waters Project and all at the Environment Unit for recognizing FSPI’s potential for undertaking this study focusing on International Waters Project including ocean, coastal and watershed areas, but specifically to reflect the Vanuatu situation.

 

Secondly FSPI and its local counterpart FSP Vanuatu for getting the word around to the team by all means available to them and the trust they vested in us to produce this report.  Thanks for the initial discussion on the report format and the formal process for this report to reach the IWP Vanuatu Office in Port Vila. Most importantly for the patience and generosity to use office resource and space for the majority of the work.

 

To all the government departments and those in the private sector that had contribute in one way or another with information that they have on environmental related activities that they are doing. We thank you for putting aside time to meet us over the holidays especially before the two holidays.

 

The team also acknowledges the National Biodiversity Project for the use of the photo from Malakula for the front cover of this report.

 

 


Acronyms and Abbreviations

 

This section will be finalized once the final report is due.

 

**********

 


Executive Summary

This reports tries to review available information on key environmental sectors of fishery, forestry, agriculture, water, health, biodiversity and waste management. Due to the time frame given to the consulting team, the report only highlights the major constraints, and the identification of potential opportunities in the sectors.

 

From the review of major environmental constraints issues relevant to the International Waters Project (IWP) activities are identified. These are discussed and presented to the Vanuatu’s IWP team.  Priority activities are highlighted for each focal area of the IWP that complement the existing capacity and interests of the sectors concerned

 

Discussion and debate with IWP staff and advisory committees is now requested to guide prioritising these activities and hence draw a recommended work plan for the IWP project in Vanuatu. Factors that could guide the selection of priority work areas include the number of people who would benefit, the benefit to the international waters of Vanuatu, cost effectiveness and likelihood of sustainability.

 

 


Table of Contents

 

 

Acknowledgements  1

Acronyms and Abbreviations  2

Executive Summary  3

1.0                Background  10

1.1    The International Waters Project 10

1.1.1   The vision for the IWP is: 10

1.1.2 IWP Objectives  10

2.0                Physical Context of Vanuatu  12

2.1     Population Dynamics  12

2.1.2            Political/Geographic Structure of the Country  12

2.2                Culture  13

2.3      Education  13

2.4 Economic Activity  13

2.5                Land  14

2.5.1            Formation  14

2.5.2            Tenure Types  14

2.5.3            Land use  14

3.0                Review of current and planned capacity building projects  14

4.0                Waste Management 16

4.1                Introduction  16

4.2                Solid waste management 16

4.3 Liquid waste management 17

4.4                Toxic and hazardous waste disposal 17

4.5 Oil pollution  18

4.6    Existing framework for Waste Management 18

4.6.1 Corporate plans for the Health Sector  18

4.6.2   National Waste Policy  19

4.6.3      Regulatory Framework for Waste Management in Vanuatu  19

4.6.4   International obligations  20

4.7   Vulnerabilities, weaknesses and problems  20

4.8     Opportunities  21

5.0    Agriculture and Livestock  22

5.1                Introduction  22

5.2                Existing framework for the agricultural sector  22

5.3                Corporate plans and strategies  22

5.4                Legislation and regulations  23

5.5    Vulnerabilities, weaknesses and problems  23

5.6   Opportunities  23

6.0                Forests  24

6.1 Forest Use  24

6.1.1   Subsistence use  24

6.1.2            Logging  24

6.2   Plantations  25

6.2                National Forest policy  26

6.4               Legislation and regulations  27

6.5                Vulnerabilities, weaknesses and problems  28

6.6                Opportunities  28

7.0   Biodiversity Conservation  29

7.1 Introduction-Culture  29

7.2 Traditional government 30

7.3 Impact of geological, weather and volcanic activities  30

7.4 Existing framework for Biodiversity Conservation  31

7.4.1.2 Main initiators of conservation areas  33

7.4.1.3 Main reasons for establishing conservation areas  34

7.3.1   National Biodiversity Conservation Strategy  34

7.3.3            Legislation and regulations  34

7.3.4  International obligations for Biodiversity Conservation  35

7.5                Vulnerabilities, weaknesses and problems  35

7.6                Opportunities  36

8.0                Human Health and well being  37

8.2                Existing framework for health management 37

8.2.1            National Health policies  37

8.2.2            National Health Legislation and regulations  37

8.2.3     International obligations for Health  37

8.2.4 Current situation  38

8.2.5 Human Resource  38

8.2.6            Financial Resource and Expenditure  39

8.3                Vulnerabilities, weaknesses and problems  39

8.4                Opportunities  40

9.0                Water Resources  41

9.1     Existing framework for Water Resource Management 41

9.1.1            DGMWR Corporate plans  41

9.1.2            Legislation and regulations  41

9.3                Water quality  42

9.4                Water Supply  42

9.5                Vulnerabilities, weaknesses and problems  43

9.5.1            Water Quality Monitoring and Surveillance Capabilities in Vanuatu  43

9.5.2National Standard and Policy  44

9.5.3Manpower shortages  44

9.6                Opportunities  44

9.6.1Water Quality Laboratories  44

10.0             Fisheries Resources  46

10.1             Existing framework for Fisheries Resource Management 46

10.1.1        National Fisheries Policy  47

10.1.2          Legislation and regulations  47

10.1.3          International obligations in the Fisheries and Maritime Sector  47

10.2   Vulnerabilities, weaknesses and problems  48

10.3             Opportunities  49

11.0             Recommendations and Conclusions  51

References/Bibliography  53

List of people consulted  55

Acknowledgements. 1

Acronyms and Abbreviations. 2

Executive Summary. 23

Table of Contents. 24

1.0 Chapter: Background to International Waters Project and its aims. 47

1.1 Background. 47

1.2   The International Waters Project 47

2.0        Physical Context of Vanuatu.. 59

2.1     Population Dynamics. 59

2.2        Political/Geographic Structure of the Country. 69

2.3  Culture. 610

2.4  Education. 812

2.5 Economic Activity. 812

2.6        Land. 912

2.7        Review of current and planned capacity building projects. 913

3.0        Waste Management.. 1015

3.1        Solid waste management 1115

3.2 Liquid waste management 1217

3.3        Toxic and hazardous waste disposal 1317

3.4        Special wastes. 1418

3.5 Oil pollution. 1419

3.6    Existing framework for Waste Management 1519

3.7   National Waste Policy. 1519

3.8      Regulatory Framework for Waste Management in Vanuatu.. 1620

3.9   Vulnerabilities, weaknesses and problems. 1721

3.10     Opportunities. 1822

4.0    Agriculture and Livestock.. 1824

4.1     Introduction. 1824

4.2   Existing framework for the agricultural sector. 1924

4.3   Corporate plans and strategies. 1924

4.4    Legislation and regulations. 2025

4.5    Vulnerabilities, weaknesses and problems. 2025

4.6   Opportunities. 2025

5.0        Forests. 2026

5.1 Forest Use. 2126

5.2   Plantations. 2227

5.3  National Forest policy. 2228

5.4Legislation and regulations. 2429

5.5        Vulnerabilities, weaknesses and problems. 2430

5.6     Opportunities. 2631

6.0   Biodiversity Conservation.. 2632

6.1   Traditional government 2632

6.2 Vanuatu’s biodiversity. 2732

6.3  Types of conservation initiatives. 2834

The systems are outline in Table 6 below: 2835

6.4  Alternative resource conservation approaches. 3036

6.5   National Biodiversity Conservation Strategy. 3036

6.6 Legislation and regulations. 3036

6.7   Vulnerabilities, weaknesses and problems. 3137

6.8   Other factors: 3238

6.9   Opportunities. 3238

7.0        Health.. 3340

7.1   Existing framework for health management 3340

7.2        Vulnerabilities, weaknesses and problems. 3541

7.3        Opportunities. 3542

8.0        Water Resources. 3644

8.1     Existing framework for Water Resource Management 3644

8.3        Water quality. 3845

8.4        Water Supply. 3846

8.5        Vulnerabilities, weaknesses and problems. 3946

8.6        Opportunities. 4048

9.0        Fisheries Resources. 4250

9.1        Existing framework for Fisheries Resource Management 4250

9.2   Vulnerabilities, weaknesses and problems. 4452

9.3        Opportunities. 4553

10   Recommendations and Conclusions. 4756

10.1   Waste Sector. 4756

10.2   Agriculture Sector.. 4958

10.3   Forest  Sector. 5160

10.4   Biodiversity Sector. 5160

10.5   Health Sector. 5261

10.5  Water Sector. 5362

10.6  Fisheries and Marine Sector. 5564

References/Bibliography. 5767

List of people consulted. 5969

 

 


Map  of Vanuatu

 

To be inserted

 


1.0 Chapter: Background to International Waters Project and its aims

1.1 Background

The following sections document key issues and information collected during the consultation to review priority environmental concerns for the International Waters Project (IWP).

 

The purposes of this report are:

·        To prepare a written report summarizing available information on the state of the Vanuatu’s environment (forestry, fisheries, agriculture, biodiversity, water, health and waste management), current management and perceived conservation practices

·        To describe priority issues for consideration by the International Waters Project (IWP) in choosing community level activities from within these IWP’s program areas: Freshwater, waste   management and coastal fisheries

 

The methodology employed for the review of environmental concerns for the IWP project comprise of the following:

·        Briefing by the Vanuatu IWP Coordinator on what is required

·        Meetings and discussions with the Government, private sector and the Non-governmental organization officials

·        Review of written documents

 

The consulting team compromised Abel Tapisuwe, Albert Williams and Michael Vari

 

1.2   The International Waters Project

International Waters is one of the four focal areas of the Global Environment Facility (GEF) which was created in 1994 to provide a unique niche – that of providing financing for programs and projects to achieve global environment benefits in four focal areas: biodiversity, climate change, international waters and ozone layer depletion and also in land degradation as it relates to these focal areas.

 

International Waters extend far inland and far out to sea. This is because the global hydrological cycle links watersheds, air sheds, estuaries, coastal and marine waters through the trans boundary movement of water, pollutants and living resources.

 

It has two main components: Oceanic and coastal

Sustain ably managed and effectively conserved coastal and marine resources and habitats in the Pacific islands region.

Oceanic component: “to enable conservation and sustainable yield of ocean living resources”. This is being done through a coordinated program involving the SPC and Forum Fisheries Agencies to provide improved information on the exploitation of the tuna resource in the region.

 

Coastal component: “to address root causes of the degradation of international waters in coastal regions through a program focused on improved integrated coastal and watershed management through community level to address priority environment concerns within countries relating to:

§         Marine and fresh water quality

§         Habitat and community modification and degradation

§         Unsustainable use of living marine resources.

 

To achieve this, regionally the IWP will support the establishment of 14 pilot projects, one in each of the participating countries. Each project will seek to strengthen capacity and provide lessons for best practices and appropriate methodologies for sustainable resource management and conservation in four focal areas relating to:

§         Marine protected areas

§         Sustainable coastal fisheries

§         The protection of freshwater resources

§         Community based waste reduction

 


2.0    Physical Context of Vanuatu

The Republic of Vanuatu comprises an EEZ of 710,000 sq. km and some 80 volcanically active islands with a total surface area of 12,200 KM². Topography varies from low coastal plains to rough, mountainous and heavily forested interiors, with the highest peak rising to over 1,800 meters on Espiritu Santo. Vanuatu is located in the cyclone-prone, tropical southwestern Pacific Ocean.

2.1     Population Dynamics

Some key aspects of the population dynamics taken from the 1999 Population Census can be seen below:

§         The average annual growth rate between 1989 and 1999 was 2.6% of which the urban growth rate was 4.2% and the rural growth rate was 2.2%. The rural population was 78.5% down from 81. 8% in 1989

§         The age dependency ratio (i.e. the sum of the young and old as a portion of the working age population of 15 – 64) was very high at 85% with 42.7% of the population under 115 years and 3.4% over 65 years

§         Crude birth rate per 1000 is 33

§         Fertility rate is 4.5% with child bearing starting at age 15

§         More males than females were in paid employment (30.1%) compared to 19.8% and more females than males were subsistence farmers (72.9% compared to 62.5%)

§         Infant mortality rate is 25.5% for female and 26% for male

§         Crude death rate per 1000 is 6% (8-10% in 1999) with life expectancy for females now is 70 years and male 67 years

Vanuatu remains a least developed nation twenty years after gaining independence in 1980. There is a high natural growth rate (2.8% per annum) and an increasingly young population (46% are aged under 15 years). As a result, dependency ratios for the 0-14 years population is are high at 88 children per 100 adults of economically active age. Education opportunities are low with only a very low percentage of the population having access to tertiary education. Life expectancy for males is 61.5 years and 64.2 years for women.

2.2     Political/Geographic Structure of the Country

The Republic is a parliamentary democracy with executive power vested in the Prime Minister and the council of thirteen Ministers (2000 figures), which is responsible for government departments, national administration and the provision of government services. The Head of State is the President. The exception was that if chiefs stand for public office, they relinquish their chiefly titles, although this appears to be changing. The acceptance of the democratic process and the right to vote is seen in voting turnouts of 81% of eligible voters in the 1987 election and 71% in 1991.

 

The Decentralization Act passed at independence established eleven Local Government Councils (LGC) to be the communicating link from government to rural areas, and formalized the formation of a national council of chiefs (the Malvatumauri) and island councils, which play an advisory role to local and national government. These LGC were later replaced with the current six Provinces comprising: TORBA, SANMA, PENAMA, MALAMPA, SHEFA and TAFEA provinces. A map of Vanuatu (shown on the next page) indicates the country’s provinces.

It is anticipated that the Provincial Government Centres will become vigorous growth centres, in a better position to address the widely different circumstances and needs of rural districts and to ensure that rural areas get an equitable share of government services. They have recently launched their Rural Economic Development Initiatives (REDI) plans (2002) as bases for their 5 year development programs. These initiatives have had wide consultation to include affected communities whose inputs whose inputs have been incorporated. It is still very much too early to comment on their successes. An important element of success would be the funding levels these Provinces get to implement their REDIs. Five percent of the 1995 national budget was allocated to build the Provincial Governments into effective units and the devolution of financial and administrative decision-making to provincial Governments is a long-term goal. The country has two urban municipalities, the Port Vila Municipal and the Luganville Municipal located on the islands of Efate and Santo respectively.

2.32.3  Culture   Culture

 

About one million people were living in the islands of Vanuatu when the first European settlements were established (ADB, 2002: Pacific Series).  Miller G. (1980) cites how in the late 1880s, deaths occurred from new diseases such as dysenteries, whooping cough and measles. People were taken to Fiji and Australia during the black-birding days. At one stage, they thought that the New Hebrideans (now Ni-Vanuatu) were a dying race. This historical part of the Vanuatu’s demography is noted here mainly to show that with higher population for a time immemorial, resources were in abundance through the management under the traditional resource management systems available and widely respected at that time. This was because these systems were very much of their every day lives.

 

The symbiotic reliance was very much a part of every day living: man had a large respect for his environment for his well- being and the forests, swamps and sea and their flora and fauna had high respect for the man through its spiritual beliefs that man had towards particular plants possessing certain spiritual powers such as the kok tree in the Apma language of Central Pentecost and the large nambanga trees who were known to live in these trees and guard the surrounding areas (pers.com). Fauna too were believed to possess spiritual powers, such as the snakes that were often believed to be the spirits themselves. Some areas were even established as tabu areas with guardians of these fauna species.

 

Such places were not widely called conservation areas, but were established in memory of an event: a chief’s death, rank taking ceremonies and someone being killed in a location. However, such sacred places played an important role in the biodiversity conservation such as around pools, creeks and plants (Naupa, 2001.). Naupa cites that hunted animals on entering these areas were left alone incase the spirits are disturbed.

 

The reasons for making a place sacred, clearly demonstrates that conservation areas in today’s context were established with other primary aims in the past in traditional resource management context which were to:

a)      Appease the spirits who guarded or lived in certain areas

b)      In memory of a traditional ritual ceremonies performed in specific locations

c)      Value a clan’s origin etc

 This is contradictory to Naupa when she says that in the Vanuatu’s context, conservation in Vanuatu’s culture is largely motivated by the desires for food security. While that may be true for today, that is because we are now being governed by global influence with its demands which are based on cash economy which may also have a direct contribution to the meaning of sustainability cited by Tapisuwe et al (2001):

·        Changes in time taken to harvest a certain volume of specified species

·        Changes in the abundance of target species

·        Volume of resources harvested

·        Changes in the average physical sizes of resources caught

·        Abundance of resources in their locations especially of fauna in both sea and land

·        Adequacy of harvest.

 

 

The current low population has over only a period of 100 years over exploited resources to near extinction. Hence there is an important need for conservation initiatives to be taken.

 

Naupa defines conservation as any activity whose direct or indirect purpose is to maintain, replenish or manage the use of natural resources.

 

Today, the documentation of the traditional resource management systems in Vanuatu is fragmented and limited (Naupa, 2001). She documents that there are multitude means of culturally based mechanisms. Some of these can be seen in table xx on page

 

In Vanuatu, tradition and culture is having an impact on natural resource management. Out of 106 conservation areas that existed in 2001, only four had received financial and western type legal assistance. The rest were initiated through traditional and cultural input (Tapisuwe, 2002).

 

During pre-colonial days, land and the sea provided everything needed by people to live a full life. What was provided was well managed by various methods and means. To safe guard this system, chiefs were appointed to serve their communities to uphold peace and stability. At the same time they were appointed as traditional leaders with the obligation to protect and uphold all that is regarded as custom, culture and tradition. They played the role of supervisor, judge, prosecutor, investigator, developer and police, making it a most effective and cheap system of governance to ensure peace and stability (Garu et al, 2001).

 

Respect was the key tool of the highest- ranking chief in the area. He held authority over all matters including over live and death (Garu et al. 2002). As Father Lini once put it, “Respect is honorable”. Respect is a two- way behavior: Chief respects his people and his people respect him. If there is no respect then something definitely is very wrong. The respect was also shown to the traditional resource management systems that existed under the chief’s authority to ensure that peace and harmony is maintained between the people and the nature.

2.4  Education

The census figures show that of the population aged 15 years and above:

§         18% had never attended school (22% in rural areas)

§         55.5% reached no higher than primary school

§         21% attended vocational schools or post secondary schools (teacher’s college and nursing schools)

§         1.3% attended a tertiary institution.

 

In relation to gender differences, more women than men had not been to school (20.6% compared to 15.5%), more men than women received some level of secondary school certificate (15% compared to 12%) and more men than women attained qualifications at university level (1.8% compared to 0.8%).

 

The literacy rate in 1999 was 74% with the literacy rate in urban areas at 90% compared with rural areas at 69%.

2.5 Economic Activity

Of the working population of 97,642 between 15- 64 years:

§         67.2% were subsistent farmers

§         25.5% worked for pay/ salary/ profit

§         5.7% did unpaid work

§         1.6% were looking for work

§         21.3% were economically inactive

2.6     Land

Vanuatu is an archipelago of over 80 islands, stretching 1,300 km from the north to south with a combined land area of only 12,190 square kilometers.

 

Vanuatu’s islands are young in geological terms, small and highly disturbed as a result of natural cyclone, seismic and volcanic activity. As a consequence, Vanuatu’s biodiversity has been widely reported to be less rich than the two nearest neighboring countries: New Caledonia and the Solomon Islands (Nimoho et al, 1988).

 

One quarter of Vanuatu is mountainous; only 5% is of the land area is raised coral terraces; 22% is stepped terraces and plateau and highly dissected by creeks and; relic volcanic cones occupies 7% and volcanic foot slopes occupy 10% of the area; about 7% is taken up by rivers and freshwater lakes and comparatively lowlands useful for agricultural activities take up to 41% (Nimoho et al, 1988).

 

The Constitution provides that land tenure is based on traditional systems and that only indigenous Ni- Vanuatu can own land in Vanuatu. [1]Other land tenure available is through land lease agreements that have been used widely by the developers including the establishment of businesses, commercial and agricultural undertakings.

 

The Constitution also allows the Government to declare portions of land to be public land if it sees it to be beneficial to the country for example the establishments of townships.

 

Land is inherited through paternal lines on some islands while in some through matrilineal lines. On some islands both systems exist.

 

Approximately 41% of the land in Vanuatu is suitable for arable farming, mainly along the coast and flood plains such as the Mele flood plain on Efate. Most of this land has been used to support 78% of the population. As a result it is estimated that less than a 100 square kilometers of forest is available and is scattered throughout the islands. The forest is highly disturbed, yet is important as a source of firewood, building materials and other resources to communities using the land

3.02.7 Review of current and planned capacity building projects

Vanuatu receives financial, technical and other assistance from the following agencies; AusAID, ADB, the British High Commission’s Aid Management Office, Caisse Francaise de Développment; Canada Fund, the European Union’s Sub-Office (Vanuatu), the French Embassy, JICA, the Peoples Republic of China and NZODA. Most of the existing and planned activities that address some aspects of environmental management are approached through donor-funded programmes. Following is a summary detailing the donor agencies programmes in Vanuatu.


Table 1. Summary table detailing the donor agencies programmes in Vanuatu (1998)

 

Assisting Agency

Program

Implementing Agencies

Environmental focus

Implementation dates

ADB

Urban Infrastructure Project

NPO

PWD

Environment Unit

·        Urban Growth Management Strategy

·        Sanitation Master Plan

·        Environmental Legislation

·        Forestry Legislation

1997 onwards

 

Institutional Strengthening and Environmental Statistics

NSO

·        Environmental Resource Information

·        Technical training?

1998

AusAID

Vanuatu Sustainable Forest Utilization Project

DOF

·        Improved forest management, planning and monitoring

1995-2000

 

Vanuatu Land Use Planning Project

DOL

·        Improved planning through sound natural resource information

1995-2000

 

Hydrological Baseline Surveys

DGMWR

·        Community training in environmental monitoring and awareness

·        Drafting of mineral regulations

 

 

Waste Management Studies

REGIONAL

·        Review of waste disposal strategies

 

EU

PASEP

CDC

·        Educational infrastructure

·        Curriculum development

1996

 

Economic Development Potential Survey?

Private (BEST)

·        Ecotourism potential studies

1996-1997

 

PGRFP

DOF/GTZ

·        Indigenous forest management

1997-2002

 

PRAP

DOA

·        Agro forestry

On-going

 

Other

NPO

·        Provision of TA

 

GEF

PICCAP

NPO/EU

·         

1997-2000

 

SAP for International Waters

Foreign Affairs

·        Integrated resource management

·        Environmental Resource Information

Planned

NZODA

Education and Training programs

DOE

·        Training for the transfer of skills to further Vanuatu’s social and economic development

 

 

Rural and Infrastructure programs

DGMWR

·        Preparation of a strategic plan for water supply

Planned 1999

 

Quarantine Services

DOA

·        Enhancing ability to deal with imported pests and diseases

On-going 1996-2001

 

Natural Resources: Soil Erosion and conservation

DOF

·        Environmental management, education and awareness

·        Job creation and sustainable livelihood associated with Erromango Kauri Reserve

On-going

UNDP/SPREP

Persistent Organic Pollutants

DOA

·        Improved chemicals management

1998-2000

 

SPBCP

Environment Unit

·        Conservation management

1994-1999

UNEP

National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan

Environment Unit

·        Environmental Resource Information

1997-2000

Source: Corrigan, H., and Williams A.A (1998) capacity Building for Environmental Management in the Pacific (CBEMP). Stakeholder Consultation for Vanuatu’s Participation in the CBEMP Project. Port Vila, Vanuatu

 


4.03.0 Waste Management

The following section outlines the key waste management issues and outlines the key environmental management tools such as legislation, policies, etc; and also looks at the various threats, vulnerabilities and opportunities for the sector[2].

 

Waste management is a serious environmental problem in Vanuatu. Consultations during development of a National Waste Plan showed recognition that waste was a problem on most island in Vanuatu. Particular problems arise with waste disposal in the two main urban centers of Port Vila, and Luganville, and the six provincial centers of Vanuatu. Empty bottles, plastic bags, and containers, and all the other debris of modern society are littering formerly pristine waters, shorelines and land, threatening food and water supplies, public health, tourism industries and industries alike. In the main centers of Vanuatu, there is just not enough land area to accommodate the rapidly increasing quantities of solid waste.

43.1   Solid waste management

Vanuatu’s Waste Management Policy recognises that solid waste management in Vanuatu is not just a matter of solving the problems of litter and solid waste disposal – a full solution has social, economic, environmental, health, education, and commercial and international relation dimensions. It was also recognized that for Vanuatu, reduction of waste is probably the most practical options, and that this depends on public awareness and education. The hope is that as people became aware of the realities of the threat which solid waste poses to their environment, their health and economy, they will start taking action themselves to reduce waste. A significant step in this direction was the 2002 Municipal By-Law banning non biodegradable plastic bans from the urban area.

 

Waste characterization is very important in giving reliable baseline data to guide targets for disposal, reduction, reuse and recycling, and to raise public awareness of the general public, the decision makers and the legislators. The only recent waste characterization study has been of waste generated in the Port Vila urban area (Sinclair, Knight Merz, 2000). The information presented below comes from this study.

 

In the one-week study an estimated 172 tonnes (900 cubic meters) was delivered to the landfill. The equivalent of 0.65kg/person/day.  The composition of this waste is characterised in table 2. From which it can be noted that:

·                    Biodegradable material is very high at 71%. of waste by weight. Much of this could be composted and removed from the waste stream, extending the life of the present land-fill site from 30 years to 100 years. This would be a considerable economic and environmental saving to Port Vila Municipal and its residents.

·                    Paper wastes is also very high at 11.4% of waste by weight.

·                    Plastics are high at over 7% of waste by weight.

·                    Very few returnable bottles were reaching the land-fill- suggesting that in town bottle recyling is working.

·                    Some 60 tonnes of Aluminium cans are reaching the tip each year, and this could potentially be recycled.

·                    Over 80% of waste going to landfill could be recycled or composted.

 

 

Recommendations include that waste reduction activities are important to halt or slow down the increasing rate of waste generation per capita. This includes greater separation of wastes so that wastes that can be composted or recycled are dumped in the landfill, education about waste management and legislation to guides the private sector, importers and consumers, possibly even placing legal responsibility on the importer to return some waste to their source.

 

The study also concluded that the Municipal council is under-funded and under- resourced as far as waste management is concern. As a result there is “no true environmental cost recovery” with the operations of the Port Vila Landfill by the PVMC.

 

 

Table 2: Waste classification Port Vila Municipal Tip, 2000.

 

Primary Waste Classification

Secondary Waste classification

Average Percent

(% weight)

Paper