USAID Awards First Clean Cities, Blue Ocean Grant in Pacific Islands to Combat Ocean Plastic Pollution
As part of the U.S. Government’s efforts to combat ocean plastic pollution, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), through its Clean Cities, Blue Ocean (CCBO) program, awarded a grant to Waste Recyclers Fiji Ltd (WRFL) and Pacific Recycling Foundation (PRF) to design and build I-Recycle Hub Bins that will promote recycling practices in Suva City. With USAID’s support, five bins will be set up in well-known high-occupancy establishments around the city, particularly in office buildings, apartments, and small business shops.
“USAID is very pleased to award this grant to WRFL and PRF and work with them in addressing ocean plastic pollution in the Pacific Islands,” said USAID Pacific Islands Senior Development Advisor Michael Glees. “We are dedicated to remaining a collaborative partner of WRFL and PRF in testing innovative and land-based solutions to reduce plastic waste and protect our oceans.”
The I-Recycle Hub Bins will have three to five compartments that are labeled and color coordinated to specific recyclables to make them user-friendly. Waste like paper and cardboard, plastics, tin, and aluminum will have dedicated compartments. Each bin will have three bulker bags that can hold up to one ton of recyclables. WRFL will collect recyclables from the five I-Recycle Hub bins and transport them to the recycling yard in Lami for further sorting and processing. These recyclables will then be shipped to overseas partners for recycling purposes.
With this project, WRFL and PRF aim to increase the community’s recycling awareness and create opportunities for Collection Pillars of Recycling (previously known as informal waste pickers), particularly women and members of the LGBTQI+ community, to participate and become economically and socially empowered.
“We are very grateful to USAID’s support for our I-Recycle Hub Program as we bring to the forefront the concept and practice of recycling in Suva City,” said Mr. Amitesh Deo, CEO of WRFL and Founder of PRF. “More importantly, we want to heighten the importance of Collection Pillars of Recycling in the waste value chain since they are our frontliners in protecting our environment.”
Some of the major problems associated with waste management in Fiji have to do with behavior, traditional and impractical practices and views associated with waste management, lack of understanding and awareness of solid waste management, and stigmas often faced by informal waste pickers, particularly women and members of the LGBTQI+ community.
With this grant project, USAID, WRFL and PRF, together with partners from the government, private sector, and communities, can recover a significant number of recyclables in the city and stop them from leaking into the environment.