Presenters: Sean Toland, GHD, & Gina Tari Buletare, Luganville Municipal Council

Presentation title: Improving Waste Management Practices in a Developing County – The Vanuatu Experience

Sean Toland recently completed a one year assignment with Volunteer Service Abroad as a Geotechnical Adviser for Luganville Municipal Council in Vanuatu. The assignment plans were ambitious: to locate a new site to develop an engineered landfill and close the current open dumpsite. However, the objectives of the assignment quickly changed as developing functioning waste management infrastructure was seen as the more appropriate solution given the existing waste management practices there. Sean assisted the municipality to improve their waste management operations. The dumpsite was used as a ‘training ground’ for the future engineered landfill site so that good site management practices could be developed and maintained. Sean was responsible for working alongside the municipal staff to create a waste collection schedule, systems for monitoring and controlling vehicle usage, expanding the waste collection fleet and establishing preventative maintenance programme. Better site records were introduced to allow accurate follow up of waste management finances and a new recording, invoicing and payment reminder system was established. Most importantly, Sean’s work was to build capacity with a local counterpart, Gina Tari Buletare, and aim to leave the Island a year later with a professional in charge who had the ability to build on what was achieved. Whilst these may sound like standard objectives, in a country where ‘island time’ is the accepted speed of everything, a budget is never guaranteed, instructions are issued multiple times and waste management is not generally viewed with much importance, these outcomes required skill and tenacity to get results. In this paper Sean and Gina will present and discuss the past and current waste management situation in Luganville, Vanuatu as well as and some of the successes and the failures of the assignment, all of which contributed to an opportunity to assist our pacific island neighbour to attain their waste management goals.

Event: WasteMINZ Conference 2014
Date: Thursday 23 October 2014