Bins to be placed at Nikao beach
Last year a small joint awareness campaign on beach litter was carried out by Infrastructure Cook Islands (ICI) and Cook Islands Tourism with support from CITC. “As part of the campaign, we decided to arrange for bin pods 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” says Director for Waste, Jaime Short.
ICI has carried out a litter survey in an area at Social Centre for about one year, and the bins at Nikao are a trial to see if there is any effect on the littering. ICI will use the data from the survey to gauge the effectiveness of the bins and the awareness around them. “If things get very bad, these bins are going to have to be removed, we just don’t have the resources to deal with an increase in the problem and no one should have to” says Short.
“Essentially we really need a behavior change and people should just take their rubbish home with them. The same way they brought their food, drinks and picnics to the beach, it is just as easy to pack them back up and take them home and it is the good thing to do instead of creating a problem for someone else to handle. All this costs money for someone” adds Short.
Communications and awareness is essential to imbed good practices and responsibility across the population and the Solid Waste Management Strategy outlines the need to have consistent awareness, training and education to produce this shift in behavior. “Of course, not everyone litters but this sort of behavior by a minority creates a perception of all of us, and it is not a positive one. Tourism surveys show that our visitors have noticed the presence of litter and it is of concern to them” says Sieni Tiraa from Tourism Cook Islands.