Samoa explores PPP path to waste management


World Bank arm International Finance Corporation and Samoa’s Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment presented a case for an integrated solid waste management system for Samoa using the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) route.<!--more-->

A session titled ‘An integrated solid waste management system for Samoa: Exploring PPP’ was hosted on the margins of the Third UN Small Islands Developing States conference in Apia, Samoa last week.

PPPs have been tried successfully in Samoa in the past especially in a range of public works projects such as road maintenance and even in the aviation and telecommunications sectors with a high rate of success. The Government is now targeting waste management for a similar PPP-type initiative.

As Samoa’s population grows and more tourists spend more days in its idyllic environs, more waste ends up to be dealt with for the authorities. Waste comes from construction, pesticides, households, industrial wastes, hospital wastes, and other chemical products. Samoa reportedly produces 93 tonnes of waste a day.

Although the first national waste management policy was implemented in 2001, there appears to be no improvement in the way the country deals with its waste materials. The government is now planning to implement the waste management policy by crafting workable strategies on the management of landfill, rubbish collection, litter management, lawn maintenance, and public toilet management using the PPP route.

Meanwhile, an innovative ‘weeds to electricity’ project was showcased at the UN SIDS event. United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) with the partnership of Samoa’s Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MNRE) and the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environmental Programme (SPREP) demonstrated the biofuel project at the main venue.

Delegates of the UN SIDS conference were the first ones to ride around in 15 six-seater electric golf carts partially fuelled by organic waste. The biogas digester breaks down organic waste through a fermentation process that does not use air.  The methane is then fed into a generator to produce electricity.

Mina Weydalh, Energy Analyst and acting head of the energy unit at the UNDP office in the country said, “This project is quite interesting because we are going to use a vine, it’s called the Merremia vine. This is an invasive vine to Samoa and, if you go out to the outer areas of Samoa, you’ll see it covers everything,” The vine is blamed for killing more than 60 per cent of Samoa’s forests. But as biomass, it could be fuel for bioenergy.

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