LEADER of Opposition Hon Matthew Wale says Honiara city’s problems and challenges with waste management is reflective of our society’s attitude to waste.
Speaking in Parliament today on the Honiara City (Amendment) (No.2) Bill 2023, Hon Wale said fundamental change would, undoubtedly, require a cocktail of interventions, including strong legislation.
He commended the overall policy purpose of the Bill as highly desirable, and something that has eluded governments, both at the national & City levels since independence.
However, he said it is commendable that the government seeks legislative responses to enable a clean Honiara City not just for the Pacific Games, but also for the long term.
“We must all take responsibility for Honiara city, and treat it with the pride, respect and care befitting a capital city,” he said.
Hon Wale said piles of uncollected rubbish, including old vehicles litter our neighborhoods.
He said the roads and drains are filled with plastic after every rainfall.
“People throwing rubbish out of vehicles or as they walk along the streets is sadly an all too common sight. Betel nut spitting on footpaths, out of vehicles onto roads, even at building walls are a constant reminder of the disrespect shown to Honiara city public spaces. It is clear that most people who engage in these practices do not feel any sense of ownership of Honiara,” the Opposition Leader said.
Hon Wale said it is sad that the issues Honiara face with waste are also faced in all our other provincial towns and most of our villages.
He said waste production and management is a national challenge that requires a robust national policy response.
“Loggers often just abandon old equipment at log camps and ponds. I’ve seen similar from mining on Rennell. This practice by loggers and miners has not attracted consequences, and the communities are left with waste that is beyond their ability to manage,” he said.
“With regards to Honiara, of course, not all of these ills require a legislative response. But they do point to decay in the city that must be addressed,” the Opposition Leader adds.
Hon Wale has also echoed concerns that the city administration over so long has been very weak, disorganized, ineffective, and grossly underfunded.
He said rubbish collection has for a long time been unreliable and inconsistent.
Hon Wale said the rubbish dump has not attracted the level of funding investment needed to support a growing city.
“The need for a new better planned and managed rubbish dump has been a long pressing need, but has not been met with the urgency required. There is a perception that waste is waste – to be disposed of and not to be further tampered with,” he said.
Hon Wale has urged the government to address the city administration’s complaints that it has lacked the legal teeth to enforce its ordinances that could result in a clean and orderly city.
He said the imminent arrival of guests for the Pacific Games has given this need urgency.