Sign board goes up at Mt. Vaea to minimize waste

Entrance to the Vailima Botanical Garden
APIA, SAMOA – TUESDAY 21 FEBRUARY 2017: Walkers up Mt. Vaea might have noticed a new sign board at the entrance to the reserve this weekend. The sign board is a true demonstration of public-private-civil partnership, with five organizations collaborating to make it happen.

Coordinated by the Samoa Conservation Society the sign board is a joint initiative with the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, Conservation International, the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) and from the private sector, Jaffa Sanitary Systems.

James Atherton, who lead the initiative said: “This is a partnership project to raise public awareness on how long waste lasts- most people are unaware of the longevity of waste. As an example plastic bottles and alumnium cans can take 500 years to degrade. Given the large amounts of litter discarded on Mt Vaea by walkers, especially plastic drinks bottles, it is a good place to start such a campaign.”

The sign board is part of the continued work of the Society with partners to minimize waste and on cleaning up the Mt. Vaea reserve. The Society also supports the restoration of the Mt Vaea reserve, and the development of the botanical gardens including the propagation of rare native plants.
In the future, the Society plans to assist in a nationwide waste awareness campaign on the impacts of waste on sensitive environmental areas and also the promotion of waste recycling.

Waste continues to be a serious issue in Samoa both land based, in river ways and the ocean. In September 2016, as part of the International Coastal Cleanup day, coordinated by SPREP and MNRE some 2177.5kgs of trash was collected on one stretch of beach by 40 people. The rubbish was sorted and results found 838 plastic bags, 465 food wrappers, 144 plastic forks, knives and spoons, 33 disposable nappies, 1008 plastic and styrofoam food packaging, 39 shoes, 285 plastic drink bottles and 432 aluminum cans.

The Society will continue to work with partners on minimizing waste in Samoa.