Infrastructure Cook Islands as principle of the roadside collection contract received a number of complaints last month on the state of household rubbish collection points in Te Au O Tonga. Concerned community members are reporting that their collection points are in a mess with rubbish left after collection or strewn about by dogs. These citizens are frustrated with having to see and clean up the mess caused by others in their neighbourhoods.
“When it can be seen that rubbish is not sorted properly or is badly contaminated with food scraps, the collection contractor T&M Heather will not accept it. Many people don’t understand this but the fact is our one and only landfill is filling up very fast and a large portion of it can be diverted from landfill to recycling and composting or feed. We really need everyone to do their part sorting their waste properly for collection” says Jaime Short of ICI.
“Another observation is appliances placed out on the roadside for collection. These items are not part of the collection route. People must take these to General Transport for proper processing. We all manage to transport these appliances to our homes when they are new, it takes the same effort to get them to the correct disposal facility in Avarua” she adds.
Part 6 of the Public Health Act 2004 requires all owners of rubbish receptacles to place household rubbish out no earlier than 24 hours before collection and to return the bins home within 24 hours of the rubbish being collected. If the rubbish isn’t collected, the owner has to take it back home. If the rubbish is spread out by dogs or other causes, the home owners responsible for the rubbish have to clean it up.
ICI sympathises with the upset members of the public who have to deal with the issue and asks everyone for cooperation with good household waste practices. These are:
- to place household rubbish out for collection on the morning of pickup,
- avoid placing food scraps in the bins and instead compost or feed to pets,
- sort recyclables separately into plastics with recycle triangles, aluminium and clean tin food cans and glass bottles, and
- place the rest out as general waste, except for anything hazardous like batteries and gadgets.
A helpful poster is available from the ICI website at: http://ici.gov.ck/recycling and provides tips and information on where you can take or what you can do with most waste items on Rarotonga. If anyone would like better direction on household waste management please call the WATSAN Division on 20321 for a rubbish sorting session to be arranged for you.