The anti-beach litter campaign is run by Infrastructure Cook Islands (ICI) and Cook Islands Tourism with support from CITC.
Director for Waste Management, Jaime Short said: “As part of the campaign, we decided to arrange and trial four pod bins to be placed at the Social Centre beach and Blackrock. We are hoping that some awareness raising will motivate litter bugs to use the bins or better yet, take their rubbish home with them for proper disposal.” She says “essentially we really need a behaviour change.”
“The bins totalled just under $10,000, including freight costs paid for by Cook Islands Tourism,” says Short. She says, if the issue gets worse the bins will be removed. “We just don’t have the resources to deal with an increase in the problem.”
ICI has carried out a litter survey in an area at Social Centre conducted from May 2018 to January 2019. The waste found at Social Centre during the survey included nappies, plastics, glass and aluminium. About 49 per cent of the waste recorded was glass and 32 per cent was general waste.
The new recycling bins will be checked most weekday mornings and emptied if needed.
Metua Vaiimene, director of destination development for Cook Islands Tourism, said: “Litter on the beaches continues to be highlighted by visitors as the least appealing aspect of their holiday in the Cook Islands.” He says Cook Islands Tourism is hopeful that the provision of the bins along with extra clearing of these, will result in no litter at Social Centre beach.
“These negative aspects need to be addressed by the community as a whole, which is why this particular joint initiative with ICI was undertaken.”
Vaiimene says: “Please use the bins properly. Bad waste management affects tourism and the environment.”
- Anneka Brown