Since the publication of the first Pacific Regional Solid Waste Management Strategy in 2005, the region has made progress in the way it manages waste. From the endorsement of national solid waste management strategies and plans, and enactment of legislation and regulations, to the establishment of sanitary landfills, closure of dumpsites, and improvement of waste collection systems, countries have shown how success can be achieved with a little hard work, determination, and—most crucially—with political support.
Despite this progress, solid waste management continues to be a high priority work area for the Pacific Islands and for SPREP. Each country needs to move towards a system of solid waste management that can be sustained without reliance on external aid. Given the limited resources in many countries, the geographical constraints and isolation, this selfsustaining system should be based primarily on the sound principles of waste avoidance and minimization. In the same way that we strive to reduce our carbon footprint to reduce our contribution to climate change, we must reduce our ‘waste footprint’ to avoid being overwhelmed by waste.