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Japan mayor offers to support Honiara deal with waste management

Mayo Yasuhiro Higashi speaking to journalists yesterday
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The mayor of Japan’s leader in managing, recycling and composting of waste says his town is open to having Honiara City Council experts visit and learn from them on how they deal with rubbish.

Yasuhiro Higashi, the mayor of one of Japan’s leading towns in managing, recycling and composting waste says he’d welcome a visit by Honaira City Council experts to learn ways to deal with rubbish.

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The Recycle Osaki System, as it is known, is built around cooperation, coordination and a trusting relationship among three main entities: residents, the government and companies.

Amongst the roles of the government is to develop appropriate law on waste management. Residents are responsible for sorting their rubbish according to type as per the ordinance, and companies are to collect wastes as commissioned by the government.

This partnership has produced outstanding results.  For example, sorting waste has generated a shift from landfill waste to recyclables, from 1998 to 2019, landfill waste was reduced by approximately 84%. In addition, the recycling rate has exceeded 80 % since 2006, 14 times making it the highest in Japan.

This grand achievement has attracted external interest and Bali, Indonesia is one example. Officials from Indonesia are frequently travelling to Osaki to learn from the Japanese and have started their own model to deal with Bali’s waste.

Speaking to SBMOnline, Higashi said whilst it would be difficult to travel to Honiara, his town would welcome personnel from HCC to visit Osaki’s facilities and learn how they deal with waste management.

This is their landfill equal to Ranadi in Honiara

“We can talk. Of course, there is a possibility for your people to come here and talk to our experts,” replied the mayor on the possibility of a visit by Solomon Islands’ officials.

“We are open to helping our friends,” he added.

Honiara faces its own challenges with waste and there are concerns over the capacity of the landfill at Ranadi.

One obvious success of the Osaka model is that its current landfill is likely to keep operating for the next 30 to 40 years. The model allows for lesser waste as it is absorbed in the recycling and composting processes.

When asked what makes his town a success story, Higashi said the first thing is to have appropriate laws. He added once the law is in place it is the respectability of the leaders to push and support it.

“You must be firm and always be committed to its implementation,” he said.

Higashi acknowledged that at the start, adopting Osaki’s model would be tough. But once people begin to understand and see the benefits they would support it.

“This is what I am doing and it is delivering results,” the mayor said.




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