Pheobe Happ from KukiTime using performing arts as a creative educational tool to share key messages about waste management ‘Taau Taku Tita’. 23062321
Effective waste management in the Pa Enua is near nonexistent with limited infrastructure and no funding made available to send recyclable waste off each of the islands.
The majority of the waste generated is
from single use plastics, but also includes larger items such as washing
machines and fridges, and car wrecks, TVs, and computers remains on these
islands either buried, put on fire pits or thrown down deep crevasses into a
mythical area known as ‘away’.
The problem with mythical areas however is
that they do not exist. There is no such thing as ‘away’.
A lot of these waste materials can last
for long periods of time. They don’t break down as easily as organic material
like our hedge cuttings and raked-up leaves. They also contain nasty toxins and
chemicals which can make their way into the soil we use for planting, into the
water where the fish we love to eat are living, and can end up in the air we
breathe if this waste is burnt.
Te Ipukarea Society with the support of
GEF Small Grants Programme has for the past two years been working closely with
local communities on Mangaia and Mauke on these very issues.
A mini household waste audit conducted on
Mangaia assessed how much recyclable waste (aluminum, tin and glass) and
Plastic (PET number 1) could be diverted from the landfill to Mangaia’s
Local importing businesses on Mangaia and
Mauke were also surveyed to assess how much drinking container waste from
glass, plastic and aluminum bottles is brought on each island each year.
Plastic bottle waste was significantly higher when considering the sheer volume
brought in. This is a pressing issue given how limited our recycling solutions
to plastics are, even on Rarotonga.
The waste awareness campaign through GEF
Small Grants has allowed TIS to work closely with each of the local schools to
discuss the issues and threats single use plastics have on our environment and
health. And also reinforce those simple solutions each and every one of us can
apply in our day to day lives to reduce the amount of waste building up in our
outer island communities.
Just this week Te Ipukarea Society and
KukiTime 4 Kids visited Apii Mangaia to discuss these very issues and local
solutions we can all apply. The multi-talented Pheobe Happ from KukiTime was
able to work closely with the primary school students using creative tools such
as performing arts to share key waste management messages.
‘Taau Taku Tita’ a catchy tune created by
KukiTime reinforces actions such as ‘Refusing’ single use plastic, and
‘Reusing’ drinking bottles, and containers for food to reduce the build up of
plastic waste outer island communities are experiencing today.
The concept of ‘Reusing’ was also further
reiterated during Te Ipukarea Society’s ongoing women’s health awareness
programme, introducing new reusable feminine hygiene products such as period
undies. Period undies look and feel like normal underwear, but their absorbent
material work just like disposal pads during a female’s menstrual cycle. Thanks
to some support from the Ministry of Internal Affairs, 29 female students from
years 6 – 13 were given two period undies to try and hopefully consider taking
on board as an eco-conscious and money saving alternative to managing their
There is still much work needed in
awareness raising and financial support for our outer islands to better manage
their waste. It is great to hear upcoming government plans to start
prioritising waste by slowly limiting the types of hard to recycle waste being
imported onto our island. A lot of these waste management issues and their
solutions from the national level were proposed to be discussed in Parliament
this past week.
If the advanced disposal fee that Te
Ipukarea Society has been promoting for many years actually becomes real, that
will go a long way to help manage our waste.