Lack of waste management has become a general environmental issue and has gained considerable attention in recent years in the Solomon Islands.
The country has experienced an increasing amount of wastes (plastic bottles, coconut husk and bags) being littered into the environment over the years.
The government through the Ministry of Environment has identified the proposed plan to ban single-use of plastic as a priority to consider and suggested that plastic pollution has now become such a prevalent issue that if the current trend continues there will be more plastic in the ocean and on the land.
The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), government and NGOs have previously aimed to determine the social perceptions of plastic bags, bottles and others in particular through consumption habits, the level of awareness on environmental impacts and the willingness to reduce their consumption.
The new approach to waste management is through providing an enabling environment for young people to take practical steps to replace single-use plastic with reusable alternatives of waste management.
The initiative will provide the government with valuable insights to address waste management in the country in the future.
According to UNDP Team Leader of Resilience Sustainable Development Unit Joy Ivunu, starting the initiative in schools is a way forward in teaching young students on how to change their behaviors towards treating their environment.
“Behavior is difficult to change as it is part of our habits, attitudes, and practices. This is why it is very important to start this initiative in schools so that we can change the behavior of our citizens when they are still in the early stages of life,” Joy said.
The initiative is one way in which the UNDP supports the Solomon Islands Government to reach its goal of reducing plastic use in the country.
Chief Environment officer of the Environment and Conservation Division Debra Kerekesa said starting with the schools is a very good step which UNDP came up with for a behavioral change.
By GEORGE GWAMANI