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LWMA pilots door-to-door waste collection project at Persévérance | 27 August 2020

LWMA pilots door-to-door waste collection project at Persévérance

With rising waste generation rates, waste management in Seychelles is becoming more and more critical both from a technical and logistical and environmental point of view.

In order to properly and sustainably manage waste and have a functional waste system which addresses the entire life cycle of waste, citizen engagement, more specifically behaviour change and public involvement is key.

Over recent years, Seychelles’ population has grown to almost 100,000 and lifestyles have drastically evolved resulting in increased consumption and significant increases in waste produced. As a result, the Landscape and Waste Management Agency (LWMA), the agency mandated to oversee waste management, finds itself struggling to juggle the sharp increase in waste, the lack of sourcing at the source of disposal, lack of public places to set up new disposal sites, as well as a lack of revenue related to waste management to provide a profitable service, on account that effective waste management is expensive. Additionally, the agency continuously faces unsustainably managed waste on the part of the general public, practices which can potentially create health, safety and environmental consequences.

Faced with these difficulties, LWMA is piloting a door-to-door waste collection service at Persévérance district, the largest housing estate built in response to a social housing emergency over 10 years ago, when waste management was not necessarily a primary concern.

The door-to-door collection service has been proposed as the new solution which is expected to improve waste management and preservation of the environment with the objective of increasing the number of bins available and educating and instilling in residents waste sorting and sustainable waste management values.

“The project is a first for Seychellois in terms of how we manage waste and if the trial goes well, it is expected to be rolled out nationally. Currently in Seychelles, refuse is disposed of in common areas at public bin sites, as is the case for Persévérance. However, the agency receives lots of complaints with regard to bin sites, complaints that bins attract pests to nearby houses, or that the smells are too disturbing to nearby houses as the bins have to be placed fairly close to the houses, especially on housing estates due to the density,” said deputy chief executive of LWMA Rahul Mangroo.

The collection service will apply to all single-family homes for over 900 households, each of which will be equipped with a dustbin. Each house is therefore responsible for their respective bins and ensuring that their household waste is collected on refuse collection days, initially set at twice a week. Home-owners will be required to sign an agreement once remitted with the bin, and LWMA has already procured 1,200 plus bins, although only 900 will be distributed initially, as the other 300 or so residences are still under construction.

“Currently, refuse collection services are available every day at Persévérance, and sometimes even up to twice a day, depending on the amount of waste at the bin sites. Our ultimate aim is to educate and sensitise the public as to how to be more responsible and accountable in waste management within the home, for instance by properly storing and sorting their waste, and even by making better consumption choices, opting for better-quality products that will not find its way onto our landfill in a matter of days,” Mr Mangroo added.

Communication is an essential part of the project and as from early next month, residents will through public consultations be informed that the bins are only dedicated to household waste produced, and the different requirements to which they are expected to adhere. Refuse collectors will have the power to refuse collection of waste not properly stored or packaged, and fines will apply to some categories of non-compliers.

As sorting of waste is an important element of the project, a PET and CAN redeem activity has been thought up in partnership with redeem centres, as a way of bringing the service closer to the community and promote collection of such resources for recycling. As such PET and CAN special collections are scheduled every second and fourth Saturday of the month, from 9am to 1pm, at the car park, next to the postal boxes. Tentative dates for the redeem activity are October 10 and 24 and November 14 and 28. Both PET and CAN are priced at 0.40 cents and 0.30 cents if labels are still attached. If this initiative is successful, it will be expanded to other districts through collaboration with other redeem centres across Mahé, Praslin and La Digue.

The presence of substantial waste such as branches, furniture or electrical and electronic devices at the bin sites often clutter up the bins. Therefore, all wastes which are occasionally produced including bulky, e-wastes and green wastes will be collected separately and monthly. Residents will also be called upon to compost organic waste from their kitchen so as to reduce the weight of their household trash by 30 percent.

In order to maximise the chances of success and have a sustainable and effective waste management system, the agency is calling on the goodwill of Persévérance residents, as well as all citizens, whose individual actions and efforts can be just as impacting.

Public consultations are set to commence during the first week of September and bins distributed to residents for the trial project, set to end in March 2021.

 

Laura Pillay

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