Very few single use plastic water bottles turned up in the waste collected from sports venues and that is welcoming news for the plastic free and greening of the Pacific Games campaign.
Single plastic water bottles were banned from selling and being brought into the sports venues yet there were some in the waste collected but the good news is that it was only a small amount. People coming to watch the Games were asked to bring reusable drinking bottles and water was provided for the spectators and the athletes from water stations and water dispensers set up at all the sport venues every day of the Games.
Although there was no 100 percent compliance with the ban, but the small amount turning up shows that the campaign has really helped to reduce the plastic bottle used during the Games.
The plastic bottles found in the waste were brought into the venues by the spectators who put them in their bags the principal officer of the Chemical and Hazard Waste Management Division of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment Fiasosoitamalii Siaosi told Newsline.
Other waste turning up included Styrofoam, aluminium cans and paper plates. No single plastic shopping bags or plastic straws were found in the waste sorted at Apia Park collected from the NUS Gym, Apia Park, Golf course and the beach volleyball court at the Apia Waterfront.
Ma Bella Quinto Waste Management Adviser with the Secretariat of the Pacific Region Environment Protection said that last week a decline in the plastic in the waste bins was noted towards the end of the first week of the Games. “That was great news because we are promoting plastic free,” Ms Quinto told Newsline.
Quinto added that however with the start of the new events in the second week and new athletes arriving a slight increase was noticed in the amount of plastic and the polystyrene. But when an audit of the waste again was taken it was noticed a significant decline in polystyrene. This showed that “ the messages being sent out to the public, athletes and the caterers not to use styrene is working.”
“ The campaign is working. We cannot really expect a 100 percent compliance but I think it is helping a lot”
Quinto is happy to note that amount of recyclable waste in the recyclable bin is increasing. “ This means the contamination is decreasing.”
The people are asked to put the recyclable waste in the recyclable bin and put the other waste in the general waste bin.
Quinto offers the advice that the way to go with waste management is to reduce the amount of waste going to the landfill because at some stage the landfill will fill up.
She also explained that separation of organic from inorganic waste would help to recover some of the valuable resources like aluminium cans and glass bottles. “So waste will be better managed, littering into the ocean will be prevented and probably we will be aware of how our many resources are affected by litter and those plastic.”
An official report on the amount of waste collected during the Pacific Games will be available when all the data is compiled .