Greening of the Games clean-up yields 18,600kg rubbish

Apia and its rivers are looking tidier, thanks to volunteers who picked up nearly 18,700kg of rubbish during a cleanup recently as part of the greening of the Samoa 2019 XVI Pacific Games.

About 1,000 volunteers spent five hours around town and at rivers collecting all types of rubbish that was later sorted and collated.

The collected rubbish came from Vaisigano, Loimata o Apaula, Gasegase and Fuluasou, as well as Apia town centre.

Items sorted included:

  • 7 vinyl carpets
  • 182 glass jars and bottles
  • 619 plastic drink bottles
  • 1005 plastic supermarket bags
  • 1877 plastic packaging food

 

 

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The event was organised by Samoa Tourism, the Ministry for Natural Resources and the Environment, the Ministry for Women, Community and Social Development, and SPREP. Two more clean-ups are planned for June.

Volunteers sorted 1495kg of the rubbish, sorting through 6835 items. They found 59% was plastics, which included plastic consumer materials, packaging materials, fishing items and plastic remnants.

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Although there is a plastic ban in Samoa on single-use plastic shopping bags and straws there is still a significant number of plastic bags which makes up 25% of the total number of total plastics. Plastic packaging made up 97% of the plastic items.

About 15% was polystyrene, including foam buoys, foam cups, food packs and trays.

The remainder was other materials, such as sanitary materials, cloth, glass and ceramic, metals, paper and cardboard, rubber, wood and others matter.

Although there is a plastic ban in Samoa on single use plastic shopping bags and straws there is still a significant number of plastic bags which makes up 25% of the total number of total plastics. Plastic packaging made up 97% of the plastic items.

SPREP is now working on recommendations to improve waste management in Samoa, including focusing on alternatives to plastic packaging. Pollution Advisor Tony Talouli said at the event that "governments were doing their bit, and individuals were doing their bit, but there is a need to do better."

The Greening of the Games -up initiative‚Äôs slogan is "Beautiful Samoa: Keep it clean and plastic free" and organisers hope to raise awareness about the issues of waste disposal into rivers, marine debris and single-use plastic.