Apii Nikao making a significant difference in preserving the natural look of Nikao beach. NES/23092964
Rarotonga’s “Clean Up the Cook Islands Day” led by the National Environment Service (NES) collected a total of 357 kilos of waste.
The total waste collected was half the amount
collected last year (750.8 kg), a notable decrease.
On September 15th, the Rarotonga Clean Up Day
collected 150 kg general waste, 29 kg plastic bottles, 25 kg aluminum cans, 40
kg glass bottles, 43 kg scrap metals and 70 kg of miscellaneous items
Mii Herman, NES project coordinator, expressed that
this year’s decrease of rubbish compared to 2022 is possibly due to the lower
number of registered participating groups, as some clean-up groups did not
Accommodation places and district Puna did not
register for the clean-up this time around, and there were fewer government
agencies, Herman added.
This year, a volume of waste was gathered from the
Nikao Social Centre, which consisted of a “concerning portion” of illegally
Herman said: “Illegal dumping incidents at the Nikao
Social Centre have unfortunately become a recurring problem.”
“NES will be working closely with government
stakeholders, landowners, and the Nikao community to collectively seek and
implement effective solutions to address this ongoing issue.”
Herman expressed that monitoring littering and illegal
dumping in public areas (beaches, streams, vacant land) poses challenges
primarily because it is often difficult to determine ownership of the waste.
“To address this, we are working on clear
communications to all users of public spaces, urging them to take their rubbish
home etc. This effort requires collaboration across agencies and include
initiatives such as lighting or patrolling, with a focus on engaging the
tourism sector,” said Herman.
Dumping is illegal in the Cook Islands under the
Environment Act 2003, and carries a fine of $750 for an individual and $5000
for a body corporate.
Herman said sufficient evidence and proof of any
public littering reported to NES are addressed before any legal action is
This approach intends to prevent negative public
perceptions and reactions, said Herman, however, this is a gap that NES will be
addressing under the new Environment Bill & Regulations which are currently
NES extends its gratitude to the dedicated groups who
participated in Clean Up the Cook Islands and would like to acknowledge the
generous support from Cook Islands Trading Cooperation (CITC) and Prime Foods,
who continue to provide the sacks needed for the clean-up, and Infrastructure
Cook Islands (ICI).
Herman would also like to thank the following organisations:
CITC, Vonnia’s Ltd, Excil Shipping, Hori Signs, Ministry of Transport, Ports
Authority, Te Marae Ora, Titikaveka College, Apii Arorangi, Apii Nikao, Vaitau
Primary School – Aitutaki , Te Kaaroa School - Aitutaki, Aitutaki community,
and Enuamanu Community.
“Together, we are making a significant difference in
preserving the natural beauty of the Cook Islands and promoting a cleaner, more
sustainable future for everyone.”