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A dirty job: Team examining how island nation can better manage rising waste issue

Providence, Seychelles | June 15, 2016, Wednesday @ 17:11 in Environment » GENERAL | By: Patsy Athanase and Betymie Bonnelame | Views: 4013
A dirty job: Team examining how island nation can better manage rising waste issue

The research team from Germany, led by Hendrik Schaefer, is sorting the wastes in 23 different categories including organic, glass, chemical, electronic and construction waste. (Patrick Joubert, Seychelles News Agency)

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(Seychelles News Agency) - The amount of waste going into Seychelles' landfills is rising by 3 percent a year, and research by a three-man team from Germany is now under way to better manage this island nation's waste products.

According to the Seychelles Sustainable Development Strategy (2012-2020), the 93,000 inhabitants of the Seychelles’ archipelago in the western Indian Ocean generates about 48,000 tonnes of waste per year.

“The research will show us the way forward concerning waste sorting, for example, which techniques can be used in future as well as how to better manage the landfill,” said Stephanie Vengadasamy, the public relations officer of the Seychelles’ Ministry of Environment.

The waste ends up in three government-owned landfills on the main island Mahe, on Praslin and La Digue -- the second and third main populated islands. The collection of waste which is then classified in eight categories is done by a privately owned company STAR Seychelles.

The research team from Germany, led by Hendrik Schaefer, is sorting the wastes in 23 different categories including organic, glass, chemical, electronic and construction waste. 

“It is important to separate the different types of waste because the rate of disintegration for each type would be different,” said Schaefer. 

The research cost around $25,000 and is being financed by Seychelles and the Darmstadt University of Technology from Germany. (Patrick Joubert, Seychelles News Agency) Photo License: CC-BY

Schaefer added that once the waste is sorted it should be placed in separate areas on the landfills.

“For example, organic waste, which produces harmful gases, should be kept separate from other flammable wastes as they can lead to fires,” Schaefer said.

The waste sorting exercise is part of the sustainable waste management plan of the Ministry of Environment, Energy and Climate Change. The research cost around $25,000 and is being financed by Seychelles and the Darmstadt University of Technology from Germany.

Although waste sorting is not common in the island nation, there have been attempts in the past to encourage households, hotels and companies to do it.

Since early this year, a pilot project is being implemented in Grand Anse-Mahe, a district in the west of the main island, Mahe, by Cycléa, a Reunion-based company, which manages the collection and sorting of waste in the west of the French overseas department.

The project, if successful, will be extended to the other 25 districts of Seychelles. 

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Tags: Germany, waste, research, sorting, Ministry of Environment, Darmstadt University of Technology, Reunion

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