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Stakeholders discuss waste management in Seychelles |11 October 2019

Stakeholders discuss waste management in Seychelles

PS De Comarmond addressing delegates at the opening of the workshop

Officials from the Ministry of Environment, Energy and Climate Change met with relevant stakeholders at the Seychelles Trading Company (STC) conference room on Wednesday to discuss proposals for a drafted Seychelles’ solid waste master plan and study on the coastal waste management infrastructure in a changing climate.

Among the officials present were the Minister for Environment, Energy and Climate Change, Wallace Cosgrow; the European Union Ambassador, Vincent Degert; the World Bank manager, Africa Olojoba; principal secretaries Alain De Comarmond and Wills Agricole and member of the National Assembly Egbert Aglae.

It was the Seychelles government who approached the EU earlier this year for assistance to prepare a master plan for the solid waste sector. The master plan is to provide for the direction of waste management in the Seychelles until 2035 and establishes the foundation for transforming the current waste management system, in line with the waste management policy 2018-2023.

The objectives of the plan are to guide the development of waste management by identifying options for interventions that are cost-effective, sustainable and appropriate for the Seychelles and to create a stable framework that will provide confidence, within which the necessary investments in waste collection systems and treatment infrastructure can be provided.

The final plan will provide recommendations to enable our country to put in place cost effective waste management system to protect the land, sea and air from pollution.

The key aspect of the waste master plan is the need to change our waste production and consumption patterns and to promote effective economy. It is expected to translate the National Waste Policy 2018-2023 into a more detailed plan of action to successfully guide development of solid waste management in the country in the medium and long term.

The plan funded by the EU has been drafted by Cowi Consultancy in Denmark.

The study on the coastal waste management infrastructure in a changing climate conducted by the World Bank, evaluated waste management infrastructures in place, especially the landfill at Providence, in relation to increase rainfall, sea level rise and storm surge.

In launching the workshop, PS De Comarmond said that waste management remains one of the biggest challenges for Seychelles and will certainly continue in the future.

He noted that with the continued opening and development of our economy and accompanying consumer behaviour, statistics continue to show that the amount of waste produced annually and disposed at the landfill continues to increase.

Mr De Comarmond further said that building awareness and education on sustainable consumption or alternatives to single-use plastics remains a top priority which also requires consistent and a non-stop effort to be realised by all.

“The actions of the master plan and study will continue and carry on from what we have started for example in putting in place waste collection and handling system both at the municipal as well as commercial level with a more active participation by local businesses,” Mr De Comarmond said.

In his address, Ambassador Degert said that it was pleased to note that Seychelles government places solid waste management as a top priority.

He noted that Seychelles like many small islands states faces several challenges in terms of waste management related to unavailability of land for landfills or waste treatment plants, waste generated may not be in sufficient amount to justify a waste management facility, transportation cost and also with a small domestic market it is difficult to justify to investing in composting and other recycling facilities.

Ambassador Degert noted that other challenges we face is the waste generation which is at 2.4kg per person on Mahe which is relatively too high compared to the normal average of 1.6kg per person. He said that we have the ability to reverse this waste generation trend.

Consultant Andrik Mols from Cowi said, during his presentation on the waste management plan, that it will be extremely difficult for us as a small nation to get rid of the amount of waste we produce if we continue to produce waste at the rate we are doing right now.

He noted that we have limited land for disposal sites and it will be very expensive for us to export our waste.

“We have to prevent and reduce the mass of waste we produce so that less waste will end up at the landfill also for the private sector that produces or import goods to take more responsibility for their products that they bring into the market,” Mr Mols said.

He also suggested that we should start practicing waste sorting that will separate the degradable and the non-degradable. Mr Mols praised the initiative taken by the Seychelles government to tackle waste and that we should be thinking of up scaling these recycling activities.

Mr Olojoba from the World Bank said that the coastal waste management infrastructure in a changing climate case study assessment of the Providence landfill will support the government to put the appropriate waste management system infrastructures which are adaptive to the small island context.

In their presentations, Ruma Tavorath and Jan Philippe Grotmann-Hoefling from the World Bank spoke of the daily cover and proper compaction of waste, ventilation system, rain water drainage and the extension of leachate treatment capacity among some of the recommendation measures to address the management of the landfill at Providence in terms of over spilling of debris and leachate into the ocean and the land in relation to climate change.

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