What do syringes and televisions have in common? Both become ‘hazardous waste’ when their useful life is over. That is, potentially dangerous or harmful to health or the environment if not properly managed. Hazardous wastes can pollute water and soil, accumulate in food crops and fish, and workers required to handle them can also be exposed to infectious and toxic substances if they are not correctly trained and equipped. Improved management of hazardous waste: healthcare waste, asbestos, and Ewastes have been identified by the Pacific islands as priority issues. SPREP has responded accordingly through a partnership with the European Union and associated funding from the 10th European Union deveopment Fund for the PacWaste project.
The Pacific Hazardous Waste project or ‘PacWaste’ is a 7.85m project that will run over four years until 2018. This project will help improve hazardous waste management in the Pacific region through: Assessment of the regional (and national) status of hazardous waste to prioritise improved management options; Implementation of best available hazardous waste management practices in Pacific island countries; Enhancement of policies and regulatory frameworks to increase local hazardous waste management capacity; and Improvement in regional collaboration and information exchange on hazardous waste management practices between and within Pacific Island Countries and Territories.
The first year of PacWaste has focused on regional hazardous waste assessments, with regional baseline surveys completed on the status of E-waste management across nine participating countries; healthcare waste surveys completed across 42 hospitals in 15 participating countries including Timor Leste; and assessment of the status of integrated waste management at a regional atoll waste management demonstration sitelocated in Majuro, Republic of Marshall Islands.
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