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Concerns mount over household rubbish dumped in public bins

Thursday 3 February 2022 | Written by Caleb Fotheringham | Published in Environment, National

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Concerns mount over  household rubbish dumped in public bins
Household rubbish dumped into Tennis Cook Islands clubs bins at Nikao. PHOTO: SUPPLIED/22020108

There is ongoing concern over household rubbish being dumped in public bins particularly at Nikao Social Centre which is a hotspot for the issue.

National Environment Service (NES) director Halatoa Fua said household rubbish being dumped in public bins was a major concern.

“There are bins designated at the Social Centre to be used by the public. However, we urge members of the public to take your rubbish home and sort it through the recycling process, in order to lessen the existing pressures on public rubbish bins,” Fua said.

“We are all responsible for keeping the Cook Islands clean and pristine at all times.”

Davina Hosking-Ashford last week shared a picture on a local community Facebook page that showed Tennis Cook Islands bins full of rubbish that was not from the association members.

Hosking-Ashford, who is also the president of Tennis Cook Islands, said it’s been an ongoing problem for the last two years. She said public rubbish bins are also being overfilled with household rubbish.

She suggests the government subsidise household rubbish bins.  

“What I’ve noticed around my road is people don’t have rubbish bins and they’re not that cheap, it’s like $180 sometimes for a rubbish bin and as a one-off that’s quite expensive for a household,” Hosking-Ashford said.

“People who don’t have rubbish bins put it in black rubbish bags and they stick it in the hedge hoping the dogs don’t attack it.”

Fua said littering in a public area was an offence under Part Seven of the Environment Act 2003.

“Everyone is responsible in ensuring that we take care of our environment and dispose of litter properly. Furthermore, it is a shared responsibility (we need to work together to dispose of litter or call out those who don’t).”

People who commit a littering offence are liable to an individual fine not exceeding $750 and if it’s a corporation, a fine not exceeding $5000.

Hosking-Ashford said managing the public bins was a job that nobody wanted to do.

She said the public bins are sometimes not emptied regularly enough and it leaves them stinking and overfilled.

Fua said the Environment Service has established a new communications framework for the coming months on litter prevention and litter management plans with relevant Government agencies.