4 Jul 2007

Vanuatu and Palau to trial system of waste disposal different to traditional methods

3:27 pm on 4 July 2007

Vanuatu and Palau are to trial a system of disposing of waste which has been successfully implemented in Samoa.

The landfill near Apia was set up using Japanese technology and assistance from the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environmental Programme, SPREP and has also been replicated on Savaii.

SPREP's solid waste officer, Mark Ricketts, says it's a method which isn't appropriate for atolls but other higher islands with soil can adopt the procedure, which involves putting pipes under the waste to allow for air to help break down the matter.

He says countries which could be appropriate include Nauru, the Cook Islands, Fiji, Solomon Islands and Papua New Guinea, in addition to Vanuatu and Palau.

"Rather than the accepted wisdom of building huge landfills and then trucking everything to them, this actually build small, cost-effective landfills and keep them close to the towns where the waste is generated and keep them under local control and cheap operation."

Mark Ricketts says the cost of the first landfill in Samoa was 500,000 U.S. dollars compared to other projects which typically are in the millions.