5 Jul 2012

Cook Islands tries to stem flow of pig waste into waterways

2:30 pm on 5 July 2012

A Cook Islands waste management programme is turning its focus to containing pig effluent from entering waterways.

The Waste Management Initiative programme, which is funded by the governments of Australia and New Zealand, is running an awareness campaign about the need for residents to keep their pigs away from streams and lagoons.

As part of the programme's Water, Waste and Sanitation project, the Ministry of Infrastructure and Planning is increasing efforts to enforce existing waste regulations.

A civil engineer with the project, Tekao Herrmann, says pig waste is an issue because of its high level of toxicity, in terms of nitrogen.

"In comparison to human waste, you're probably getting three and a half times the concentration (of nitrogen) for the same amount. And because of the content of nitrogen, when it gets into the lagoon, then that kind of promotes algae bloom and all sorts of things."

Tekao Herrmann