Story | 21 Sep, 2023

Plastic project in the Pacific wraps up

In an effort to combat the alarming issue of plastic pollution in our oceans, stakeholders including government representatives, private sector, NGOs and CSOs of Fiji, Samoa and Vanuatu gathered in Port Via, Vanuatu from 16 – 17 August for the official handing over of the Plastic Waste Free Islands (PWFI) project results.

Speaking at the workshop, Chief Guest and Director of the Vanuatu Department of Environmental Protection and Conservation (DEPC) Mrs. Touasi Tiwok encouraged the participants to utilize the data made readily available through the project to progress change in their various areas and expressed her wishes that the project outcomes be ‘more than just a document sitting on a desk’ for the respective sectors represented at the workshop.

Director Tiwok also conveyed her appreciation for the continuous development of science in the Pacific to help policy makers, made possible through collaboration with stakeholders present.

The three days of workshop strengthened networking and fostered regional cooperation across countries and sectors. It was also an opportunity to share the project’s main result: The Blueprint journey to a plastic waste free island report which is a complete Do-It-Yourself guide to reducing plastic waste on any island in the Pacific and anywhere in the world. Participants were encouraged to use the guide within their networks and spaces.

The project, which was officially launched in 2019 with support from the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (Norad), seeks to promote island circular economy and to demonstrate effective, quantifiable solutions to addressing plastic leakage from Small Island Developing States (SIDS). In addition, the project also aims to repurpose waste into commercially viable products, thereby generating job opportunities and income for local communities. 

This project has seen a collaboration between many sectors, including government, private sector and civil society, to address plastic pollution.  The dedication, commitment and ambition of these partners gives us hope that we can close the plastic tap and develop a fully circular blue economy”, said Ken Kassem, Regional Programme Coordinator for IUCN Oceania.

The workshop also served as the final workshop for the PWFI project in the region after four years of implementation in Fiji, Samoa and Vanuatu. The completion of the PWFI project in the Pacific also provided a platform to discuss the next steps for the respective countries and sectors in advancing their journey towards plastic waste free islands. The hope is that PWFI will serve as a catalyst for a larger movement towards a cleaner and more sustainable planet.