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University study shows shortcomings in Seychelles’ waste management

Victoria, Seychelles | July 18, 2016, Monday @ 15:04 in Environment » GENERAL | By: Salifa Magnan and Betymie Bonnelame | Views: 3706
University study shows shortcomings in Seychelles’ waste management

File Photo: PET bottles being processed at the Providence plant. A study on waste management in Seychelles by university students shows that there is a working system in place for the processing and export of PET bottles and cans while this is not the case for glass and paper. (Joe Laurence, Seychelles News Agency) 

Photo license  

(Seychelles News Agency) - A three-week study conducted by university students local and foreign shows the shortcomings in how waste is managed in Seychelles in spite of policies and laws in place.

According to the findings, the Ministry of Environment, Energy and Climate Change needs to define clearly who is responsible for what with regards to waste management in the island nation.

The study -- Solid Waste Management in the Seychelles, Developments and Opportunities’ -- was done by 36 students from ETH Zurich University and the University of Seychelles in collaboration with the local environment ministry. 

The study said that "waste generation is heavily influenced by government policies."

On the plus side, the study found that there is a working system in place for the processing and export of PET bottles and cans. However, that is not the case for glass and paper. (University of Seychelles and the Transdisciplinary Lab of ETH Zürich) Photo License: CC-BY

Waste management is an increasingly important issue in Seychelles, a group of 115 islands in the western Indian Ocean.

The Seychelles Sustainable Development Strategy (2012-2020) states that the 93,000 inhabitants of the island nation generate about 48,000 tonnes of waste per year, and most of it ends in the landfill.

This poses several problems. Not only is there a shortage of land and but there is also ecological problems due to ‘leachate,' a black toxic liquid, the result of rain going through the waste.

On the plus side, the study found that there is a working system in place for the processing and export of PET bottles and cans. However, that is not the case for glass and paper. 

“We see a potential to optimize the waste management system in the future and reduce the amount of glass, papers, and cardboard that is going to the landfill,” the students said.  

The study suggested that to optimise the recycling market the government could put a levy on glass bottles and consider tax breaks for businesses willing to invest in recycling and export of waste. (University of Seychelles and the Transdisciplinary Lab of ETH Zürich) Photo License: CC-BY

The principal secretary for environment, Alain Decommarmond, said that although there are some recycling programs in place, the government needs to develop recycling strategies for glass, paper and cardboard. 

The study suggested that to optimise the recycling market the government could put a levy on glass bottles and consider tax breaks for businesses willing to invest in recycling and export of waste.

A large amount of waste in the landfill is biodegradable, and the students said it could be put to good use.

“Using biodegradable waste as input for biogas plants will reduce the amount of waste going to the landfill. Biogas could be used to generate electricity and heat or can be used as fuel for cars and cooking gas.” 

Diagrams showing two possible scenarios on the amount of waste going to the landfill by 2040 depending on the rate of economic and population growth. (University of Seychelles and the Transdisciplinary Lab of ETH Zürich) Photo License: CC-BY

The students gave two possible scenarios on the amount of waste going to the landfill by 2040.

With a high economic and population growth, around 180,000 tonnes of waste will be produced by 2040 if the inhabitants keep producing the same amount of waste. Five more landfills will be needed. By reducing, reusing, recycling and recovering energy from waste, no additional landfill will be required. 

The other scenario shows that with a low economic growth and decreasing population, 3.5 additional landfills will be needed. 

Another study by a three-man team from Germany on how to better manage the island nation's waste products was conducted in June and the results of their findings are expected in August.

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Tags: university, students, ETH Zurich University, University of Seychelles, Ministry of Environment, Energy and Climate Change, waste management, study, landfill, recycling

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