Pacific relearns composting in traditional gardens
Pacific regional body puts an emphasis on developing composting to improve soil quality and stop waste.
The Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Program wants to get Pacific people to compost rather than burn their organic waste to improve soil and mitigate climate change.
It is implementing a pilot project in Niue involving at least 200 families in seven villages.
SPREP's Lusiana Ralogaivau says the adoption of compost techniques will help reduce harmful chemicals in the Pacific region.
She says composting will also build healthy soils and a sustainable source of food for a country that relies heavily on agriculture, protecting natural ecosystems, and being part of the climate change mitigation solution.
The director of the Waste Management and Pollution Control Division at SPREP is David Haynes.
Don Wiseman suggested to Dr Haynes that Pacific people would have traditionally composted.
DAVID HAYNES: That is very true but I guess the population is now moving very much into urban situations and perhaps that skill has been lost. So what we are trying to do is get people to understand is that composting is a key component of proper waste management. So that the organic material can be composted to return nutrients to the soil and minimise groundwater pollution and so on. And also if composting is being carried out in the home it means that the collection costs of the organic matter can be reduced so you don't actually have to incur that cost to take the organic matter to the local landfill for disposal .
DON WISEMAN: So how are you going about this process?
DH: I guess there is a couple of ways we are doing it. A critical element of the project is education and also another critical element is demonstration projects. So if we can show local communities that this is a very easy process to carry out and also demonstrate that they will achieve cost savings. And also if we can combine that with an education program it enables the word to be spread and people can understand why it is a good practice to carry out on a daily and weekly basis.
DW: One of the places you have started this process is on Niue and there people tend to just burn all there waste before.
DH: Yea burning as we call it open burning is a very common issue right across the region and we have selected Niue as a I guess a bit of a demonstration where we can hopefully teach local communities particularly in the southern end of Niue to compost their waste. So that toxic smoke isn't released into the local community.
DW: Are they embracing the idea?
DH: It's early days yet but certainly the reaction we have got so far is very positive for the program. The pilot program will run for 12 months. Where we will carry out the demonstration work, provide an education program. And then it is also part of a wider waste management program that is being carried out in Niue that will run for three years. Where we are also providing assistance with better waste management collection services and hopefully the landfill also will be improved. So management of waste will improve.
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