Samoan News, Tala Samoa
Robert Wyland, Polynesian Voyaging Society crewmember and renowned marine artist, was inspired to paint a mural at the Ocean Center in Pago Pago, American Samoa, Tuesday.
Wyland enlisted the help of Nainoa Thompson, president of Polynesian Voyaging Society and master navigator, and local artists, to paint a life-size mural of marine life. Wyland flew into Pago Pago on Monday and on Tuesday he received permission to paint. The artwork took approximately half a day to finish.
The Ocean Center is engaging youth and communities with a message of ocean conservation, said Wyland. This is the same message Nainoa and Hōkūleʻa are championing, “and that’s where we need to put the light today,” said Wyland.
Wyland was asked to accompany Hōkūleʻa and her crewmembers to the United Nations Conference on Small Island Developing States in Apia, Samoa. Wyland accepted the invitation to join the Mālama Honua Worldwide Voyage and do his part to help educate and inspire generations about conservation of our beautiful Island Earth.
“We need to raise awareness about the issues facing our ocean and our water planet in general… We need a healthy world and the way we are going to achieve that is people learning what they can do,” Wyland said.
Wyland will be sailing with Hōkūleʻa and her crewmembers to Apia, Samoa and is planning on asking community members if he can paint a mural for them. The paintings will represent thevoyage mission and the effort to protect our oceans.
“I am just proud to be here in American Samoa to be part of this great adventure of our day. It’s one of the most creative ways I’ve ever seen for people to see the connection to the one ocean that we have. We have only one and it’s a beautiful story that the Hōkūleʻa is telling and I’m proud to be a small part of it.”
The Hawaiian name for this journey, Mālama Honua, means “to care for our Island Earth”and is taking Hōkūleʻa and her sister canoe Hikianalia across Earth’s oceans to grow the global movement toward a more sustainable world. The Mālama Honua Worldwide Voyage, sponsored by Hawaiian Airlines, will cover 47,000 nautical miles, 85 ports and 26 nations, including 12 ofUNESCO‘s Marine World Heritage sites, through June 2017.
Samoa's PM calls on American Samoa to change its status.
By Joyetter Feagaimaalii-Luamanu email@example.com Apia, SAMOA — Samoa’s Prime Minister Tuilaepa Lupesoliai Sailele Malielegaoi says American Samoa should think really hard about their status — as a “Disorganized and Unincorporated territory —as they will always fall behind the United States of America when they come together for global meetings, like the Small Islands Developing States (SIDS) conference.”
Samoa News told the Prime Minister the correct status is “unorganized” but the Prime Minister repeatedly said “disorganized”.
During an exclusive interview with Samoa’s Prime Minister last week, Tuilaepa spoke on several issues which concern American Samoa.
For the SIDS conference, the PM pointed out with a conference such as this, American Samoa should have its own voice in this meeting, however that is not the case, as the Territory falls behind the US, because they are not independent.
He said, “This is similar to village council meetings, when the chiefs meet, the chief’s son always sits at the back behind his father. This is what’s happening here, when the world meets, the chiefs meets and American Samoa sits behind and waits for US.
“That’s what American Samoa should really think about, if they should continue to be sitting behind the US,” Tuilaepa said.
Of the Bumble Bee cannery, Samoa’s PM told Samoa News that Bumble Bee President and CEO Chris Lischewski is slated to break ground on schedule for the new cannery in December, and plans have not changed as they have already signed the Memorandum of Understanding. Tuilaepa said initially the plan was to ground break ground early next year, however the date has been changed to December.
He confirmed that the cannery operations will be at Matautu Wharf in the town area of Apia where Bumble Bee plans to build a processing plant for pre-cooked loins and frozen tuna products and the company expects to start with 250 – 300 direct employees.
Tuilaepa told Samoa News this is a promising project and they are happy with it, as they have been waiting for a cannery to open in Samoa, because not only will it benefit the Samoa government, but mainly the Samoan people, as they will be gainfully employed.
In a recent letter to Lori Faeth, the acting Assistant Secretary for Insular Areas of the U.S. Department of Interior, Gov. Lolo M. Moliga said he believes that the Bumble Bee Company’s plans to set up operations in Samoa threatens the “financial viability” of cannery operations in American Samoa. He was referring to companies like StarKist Samoa and Tri Marine International’s Samoa Tuna Processors Inc.
Lolo wrote, “The competitive advantage of these two assets (the canneries) will be compromised, not only because of the exemption of Bumble Bee from Federal minimum wage,” but also from U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration, Food and Drug Administration, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and “many other Federal regulatory requirements.”
Tri Marine is on record as noting the Bumble Bee cannery’s primary impact from when it opens will be in the competition for raw material. It said, “To the extent that results in higher prices for the raw fish, that will impact on the competitiveness of the product from the Samoas in the world markets.”
Samoa praised for hosting an “extraordinary and shiny” conference. Talamua Media
By Lagi Keresoma
APIA: FRIDAY 05 SEPTEMBER 2014: The four days conference for Small Islands Developing States (SIDS) is labeled as an “extraordinary and shiny “ conference by the United Nations (UN) Secretary-General for the conference Mr. Wu Hongbo during the final press conference yesterday. With Samoa’s Permanent Representative to the UN in New York, His Excellency Ali’ioaiga Feturi Elisaia
“The UN appreciates Samoa’s tremendous hospitality and dedication in hosting a successful conference,” said Mr. Wu.
Mr. Wu said the UN office is amazed at what a small country can achieve.
The success of the conference according to Mr. Wu was not only the consensus adoption of the SAMOA Pathway but the smooth operation of the whole conference.
Asked why this conference was different from the Barbados and Mauritius conference, Mr. Wu said the last two conferences were label as government conference by their people..
“The Samoa conference, the whole country was involved and worked around the clock to ensure the success of it,” said Mr. Wu
Asked if UN would consider Samoa to host another SIDS conference, Mr. Wu said that was up to SIDS member countries.
This is the biggest UN conference to be hosted in the Pacific region and Samoa has outdone their best, said Mr. Wu.
According to Mr. Wu’s office who did a head count, 115 countries attended, 21 heads and leaders, 97 Ministers, 06 Associate ministers and leaders, 548 Non-Governmental Organisations and Civil Servants Societies and 3500 participants.
The Republic of Kiribati President Mr. Anote Tong congratulated Samoa for bringing the world to the Pacific.
“Samoa has done a great job,” said Mr. Tong.
France’s Associate Secretary for Foreign Affairs office Francois B. Hertland struggled with his English to find words to describe his feelings.
“I feel free and safe by the warmth and hospitality of the people,” said Mr. Hertland
He also made time to enjoy the Teuila festival evening shows.
Joel Raymond of Beguine Marseilles Africa enjoyed every moment spent in Samoa.
“I felt at home in Samoa,” said Mr. Raymond
Mr. Wu Hongbo at the lowering of the UN and Samoan flags and handing back of the conference facilities to the Samoan Government last night.
Mr. Raymond said Samoa and Marseilles have a lot of similarities in the weather and culture.
“Samoa is very colorful and the conference was excellent,” said Raymond.
Mark Paul of Vanuatu commended Samoa for a conference so well organised.
“I applaud Prime Minister and people of Samoa,” said Mr. Paul.
Even media personnel who travelled often to Samoa in the past were “impressed” with how the conference was conducted.
H.E. Ali’ioaiga was also asked why Samoa opted to host such a prestigious conference.
“It is a significant year for Samoa because it is the year Samoa graduates from being a member of the least developed countries (LDC),” said Ali’ioaiga.
For that reason, the Samoa government decided to host the 3rd SIDS conference as a landmark for her accession to the developed countries category.
“It shows the strength and quality of Samoa when it comes to tackling anything,” said Ali’ioaiga.
Samoa does not differentiate amongst partners but accept and welcome all her partners said Ali’ioaiga.
“It means we do not judge but we take.”
In the handing over ceremony of the UN and Samoa flag, Mr. Wu again extended appreciation and gratitude to the government and people of Samoa for an ‘extraordinary conference.”
UN chief rides Hōkūleʻa in harbor at Apia, Samoa Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon also signs the Hokule'a's environmental stewardship pledge
APIA, SAMOA >> It was close, but Hokule'a and Hikianalia made it to Apia just in time to meet and sail with United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, after battling through fierce winds and steep swells to finally leave Pago Pago.
By arriving in Apia Harbor early Monday, the canoe crews managed to secure a visit with the head of the U.N. but, perhaps more importantly, they had Ban sign the "Promise to Ka Pae'aina," a document that Hokule'a is carrying in its captain's box to collect pledges from around the world to be better environmental stewards to the world's resources.
It wasn't an easy task though, and it almost didn't happen.
When Hokule'a and Hikianalia crews pushed off the dock in Pago Pago on Saturday, on the other side of the International Date Line, they weren't sure the winds would allow them to safely clear the harbor there.
If not, they would have to turn back. However, after waiting four days for the weather to change with no luck and having reached the last day they could leave and still make the visit with Ban and other dignitaries, Hokule'a Captain Nainoa Thompson said it was important they at least try.
Pago Pago Harbor Master Wally Thompson first towed Hokule'a and its crew out to where the harbor met the open sea shortly before noon, and they encountered gusts and swells about 12 feet high. Thompson then calculated that the two canoes could maneuver safely enough on their own sail power to clear the island of Tutuila, where Pago Pago is located, and make for Apia.
Crews crossed the date line while working hard through the night to keep the canoes on course, even as the weather improved a bit. Three apprentice navigators aboard Hokule'a kept their bearing using traditional wayfinding overnight.
Hokule'a crews then worked swiftly at sunrise to outfit the Polynesian voyaging canoe with its traditional crab-claw sails, for effect, while they simultaneously cleared customs with officials on a nearby ship.
They were then greeted by several hundred Samoans, including traditional dancers and singers, waiting for them at the harbor as an intense Apia sun rose higher overhead.
Ban and an entourage of about a dozen people then sailed around Apia Harbor for about 20 minutes before he signed Hokule'a's pledge -- a move that Thompson and Polynesian Voyaging Society officials see as a significant first step toward getting the U.N. to help better protect marine resources. They hope to revisit Ban's commitment either next year or in 2016, when the canoes are slated to arrive in New York.
Also on board Monday was renowned marine biologist and National Geographic Explorer-In-Residence Sylvia Earle.
Ban was curious about the canoe and its Malama Honua "Care for the Earth" global voyage -- he asked crewmembers where the name Hokule'a originated. He was told it was named for the star, also known as Arcturus, that reaches its zenith directly above Hawaii.
He's here to attend the U.N.'s once-in-a-decade Small Island Developing States conference -- a forum taking place this week to discuss the unique issues and challenges facing sea-locked nations
It's also the last high-level U.N. event before Ban convenes a summit on global climate change later this month to discuss realistic goals for the future to combat its effects -- and issues discussed here at the SIDS conference, unique to small islands, could influence the discussions poised to take place several weeks from now in New York, officials say.
Several Hokule'a crew members, including Eric Co and Jenna Ishii, will serve as delegates at the SIDS conference this week after working nearly 24 hours straight to get the canoes safely to Apia.
Hokule'a and Hikianalia are expected to leave Friday for the far-flung island atoll of Tokelau, north of Samoa.
National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research works with Samoan village
A unique pilot project to help Samoas largest village better cope with natural disaster is the focus of an upcoming exhibition at the Museum of Samoa timed to coincide with a major United Nations conference in Apia.
A unique pilot project to help Samoa’s largest village better cope with natural disaster is the focus of an upcoming exhibition at the Museum of Samoa timed to coincide with a major United Nations conference in Apia.
The Third International Conference on Small Island Developing States opens on 1 September and is expected to attract about 3000 international delegates.
The pilot project was initiated by NIWA marine geologist Geoffroy Lamarche and Wellington architect Cécile Bonnifait. It aims to help the Samoan community build its resilience to natural disasters and proposes some new building solutions that take into account Samoan culture and local materials.
It focuses on the village of Sa’anapu on the south coast of Samoa’s main island, Upolo and combines expertise in science, anthropology and architecture. The village was badly affected by the 2009 tsunami, during which near 150 people lost their lives, and Cyclone Evans in late 2012.
Much of the village is built on a sand berm bounded by mangroves and a fringing reef. Both mangroves and the reef have highly prized ecological, economic and cultural values for the village. Rising sea levels are causing erosion and retreat of the sand berm, meaning the village has been progressively moving but not in a controlled or planned manner. Early engagement with the council of Matais (chiefs) of Sa’anapu has enabled everyone to work towards developing a stronger future for the village.
The exhibition will showcase some of the work already completed and includes physical models of new village facilities that it is hoped will be built at Sa’anapu. NIWA has been involved in assessing the potential impact of a tsunami on the village, by generating a numerical model of a tsunami originating from the Tonga Trench, and in estimating frequency of natural disasters.
Other components of the project include planning for a community centre that transforms into an emergency shelter during natural disasters, relocation of a pre-school outside the high hazard area, and training Samoan experts to continue collecting survivor stories.
Dr Lamarche says the relationships between the natural environment and the architectural and social environments are rarely accounted for in projects involving coastal island communities.
“We are merging research, creativity, construction and knowledge transfer in a very exciting way. But what makes this pilot project really special is its focus on finding modern solutions that retain and preserve the cultural heritage, history and traditions of the village.”
Ms Bonnifait says they want to create a new focal point for the village by creating a community building that is a contemporary adaption of traditional Samoan architecture. Those involved have been working alongside local Matai to learn more about the village history, and with craftsmen, guardians of the traditional building techniques.
“The engagement the people of Sa’anapu is crucial to the success of this conceptual project. We were fortunate that the council of Matai of the village was willing to collaborate with us. One of the orators – Popese Leaana (Tupu) – has a unique skill set that combines excellent technical expertise of local and traditional construction and a direct knowledge of the effects of climate change and natural hazards on the village. ”
Funding for the early stages of the project has been a joint effort between NIWA and the Pacific Fund, created in 1985 by the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in order to promote social, economic, scientific and cultural development and integration in the Pacific.
The exhibition opens at the Museum of Samoa on 28 August and runs until 24 October 2014. The official opening will be on September 1 and will be attended by Samoa, New Zealand, France and New Caledonia dignitaries as well as many Sa’anapu residents. Dr Lamarche says the next stage of the project is to secure more funding so that this conceptual project can progress to a feasibility stage.
The exhibition opens at the Museum of Samoa on 28 August and runs until 24 October. The official opening will be on September 1 and will be attended by Samoa, New Zealand, France and New Caledonia dignitaries as well as many Sa’anapu residents. Dr Lamarche says the next stage of the project is to secure more funding so that this conceptual project can progress to a feasibility stage.
Content Sourced from scoop.co.nz
Media bill tabled in Samoa
A bill establishing a media council in Samoa is now before the Parliament after being tabled by the Prime Minister.
The Media Council Bill would make the media body, the Journalism Association of Western Samoa, as the implementing body of the council, which would then act as an independent professional association.
Legislation drafters have moved to abolish the criminal libel laws under the Crimes Act and amend the Printers and Publishers Act to ensure the protection of journalists' sources.
The Media Council will also investigate public complaints and introduce a Code of Practice and Code of Ethics.
A member of JAWS and lecturer at the National University of Samoa, Misa Vicky Lepou, says the Prime Minister, Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi, tabled the bill yesterday, and it's hoped there will be debate on the bill before Parliament ends today.
She says if not, the bill will be debated in the next session.
Lolo favours American Samoa constitution change
American Samoa's Governor Lolo Matalasi Moliga says the time is right to change the constitution in order to give the Fono veto override authority of legislative measures.
At present if a bill that was vetoed by the governor is approved again by the Fono, the governor sends the bill with his comments to the US Secretary of the Interior who makes the final decision on whether the bill is signed into law.
Under the constitutional amendment, if the governor vetoes a bill, each chamber can pass the bill again and if passed, the governor must sign the bill into law.
The proposed amendment will be on the ballot in November and the governor has urged directors to help make sure voters understand what the amendment provides.
Lolo says the US Department of Interior will support what the public wants.
Mystery virus affects nearly 100 in Samoa
Samoa's Ministry of Health says nearly 100 people have now been affected by a mystery virus.
Two people have also died from but authorities still aren't exactly sure what the virus is.
Samoan Ministry of Health's Dr Saaine Vaai told Pacific Beat patients are showing signs of two separate illnesses.
"Well initially we thought we were seeing acute fever and rash, which is one of the things we do look for," she said.
"But as of Saturday we did get the confirmation of some of the specimens that we sent out for chikungunya.
"We're still waiting for other specimen confirmation."
In neighbouring American Samoa there have been more than 300 confirmed cases of chikungunya and authorities say a traveller between the two countries brought some strain of the virus to Samoa.
Dr Vaai says a public campaign to raise awareness about the outbreak and educate people about precautions to take has begun.
"This is the first time that we've have had this virus in the country and we are working with experts from WHO (World Health Organisation) and the Secretariat of the Pacific Community to control it," she said.
Officials say five people have been admitted to hospital with symptoms of the virus.
American Samoa and Samoa have Pacific's cheapest fuel
The latest edition of the Pacific Fuel Price Monitor has shown American Samoa and Samoa to have the lowest fuel costs in the region.
The monitor found prices in many Pacific countries are far cheaper than those in much bigger markets like Australia and New Zealand.
Petroleum advisor at the Secretariat of the Pacific Community Alan Bartmanovich told Pacific Beat that although most Pacific countries are getting fuel from the same import shipments, American Samoa and Samoa have much better deals in place.
"They own their own fuel facilities and the oil companies have to come to them to make the deals if they want to sell fuel in their countries," he said.
"In American Samoa and Samoa people actually have to go to the government and ask permission to deal there. And in that negotiation they make sure that they get the best prices available.
"As opposed to other places which have permanent suppliers and the oil companies own the facilities and are pretty much in control of the markets."
Fiji was a close third for low fuel costs in the region.
Mr Bartmanovich says other Pacific countries are starting to learn lessons from American Samoa on how to deal with the big oil companies.
"If the governments want it to happen it can happen," he said.
He says concerns about striking specific deals with oil companies and having less competitive marketplaces are warranted.
But he says he has a simple answer.
"People have said 'oh, if you make it not competitive or they (oil companies) make less money they're going to leave' and I said 'well yeah, but I don't know any place in the world where there is a demand for oil and there isn't somebody willing to supply them'."
Once local taxes are taken into account, American Samoa still has the lowest fuel prices. But Samoa falls down the list.
Kiribati is the second cheapest when tax is included and Guam third.
Wallis and Futuna holds the mantle for the most expensive fuel in the region, with Cook Islands not far behind.
Palau and Guam are the clear leaders for charging the least amount of tax.
Samoa Police Commissioner to fight cabinet termination
The Samoan government has upheld a recommendation by a Commission of Inquiry to terminate the service of the Police Commissioner, Lilomaiava Fou Taioalo, because he breached his duties.
It's the result of a separate Commission of Inquiry into alleged corruption and abuse of power in the management of Tafaigata prison.
The Prime Minister, Tuila'epa Sa'ilele Malielegaoi, says the Commission recommended for Lilomaiava to retire, which means he has had his service terminated.
But Lilomaiava told our correspondent that he has not been served or informed of a decision.
Lilomaiava says he is seeking legal advice, and will comment further when he receives a written decision.
American Samoa receives major disaster declaration
PAGO PAGO, American Samoa. The federal government is approving American Samoa's request for help with storms, flooding and landslides that caused more than $5 million in damage and left one person dead.
The White House announced the major disaster declaration for the territory on Wednesday. The territory's governor wrote to President Barack Obama last month for help with the heavy rain, flooding and landslides that occurred from July 29 to Aug. 3, which left many people homeless.
The declaration makes federal funding available to local governments and certain private nonprofit organizations to repair or replace damaged facilities.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency says additional disaster designations could be made later if requested by the territory, based on damage assessments. Someone from FEMA visited Pago Pago for two days last month to assess the damage.
Samoa keen on methane
By Vaughan Elder
One man's rubbish is another man's electricity.
Neville Auton, who as Dunedin City Council energy manager, was behind the successful initiative to capture methane from Green Island landfill and convert it to electricity, is pushing the idea in Samoa.
Now an energy consultant for Otago Polytechnic, he has just returned from the United Nations Conference on Small Island Developing States, held in Apia, where he spoke about the idea.
In order to progress repeating the Green Island initiative in Apia the polytechnic had signed a memorandum of understanding with the National University of Samoa and Mr Auton was confident the idea could work in Apia.
Renewable energy was a major focus at the UN Conference, as island states grappled with their reliance on diesel-generated power.
Samoa - which relies on diesel for 60% of its energy - was keen on the idea.
''In the past, there has been rhetoric, but this time they were really looking for action,'' Mr Auton said.
Assessing the viability of the project would likely be a two-year project.
''We will be looking at research projects with the university over there to get accurate data to make decisions on.''
That would include quantifying the different types of rubbish which came into the Apia landfill.
Small island conference leaves ‘legacy with impact’ – UN
4 September 2014 – With $1.9 billion pledged in sustainable development partnerships, the United Nations on Thursday wrapped up its small island developing States conference and kicked off a drum roll of action on climate change.
The Secretary-General of the Third International Conference on Small Island and Developing States, Wu Hongbo, characterized the summit, the largest of its kind in the Pacific, as “extraordinary.”
Briefing journalists in Apia, Samoa, Mr. Wu said 297 partnerships between governments, businesses, civil society and UN entities had been announced during the four days.
“Without a doubt, these partnerships leave a legacy with impact,” Mr. Wu said. He added that the Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA), which he heads, will take on the responsibility of reporting on the commitments' progress to hold the participants to account.
The partnerships are in the areas of sustainable economic development, climate change and disaster risk management, social development, sustainable energy, ocean health, and water and sanitation, food security and waste management.
They are in line with the conference's outcome document, nicknamed the Samoa Pathway, which was unanimously endorsed at the last plenary session today.
"The time for speeches is over,” Samoan Prime Minister Tuilaepa Lupesoliai Sailele Malielegaoi said in his closing statement. “We must now set sail with determination that the course of action we have chartered here… will be delivered to achieve our priorities."
The end of the conference begins the countdown to Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon's Climate Summit on 23 September at UN Headquarters in New York.
"This conference actually starts what the Secretary-General calls the drum roll of action," said Executive Secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), Christiana Figueres. "Climate change is an anchoring issue at the conference in Samoa, which in 2009, experienced an earthquake and a tsunami."
The UNFCCC is the parent treaty of the 1997 Kyoto Protocol. In this context, Ms. Figueres is overseeing talks between countries for a universally accepted climate treaty to be hammered out next year in Paris.
Following today's events, the UN flag was formally lowered over the Tuana'imato sports complex, symbolically returning the site to the Government of Samoa.
Samoa hosts hundreds of global leaders for talks on developing island states
Hundreds of global leaders from government, NGOs and the private sector have descended on the tiny Pacific country of Samoa for rare talks on how to develop island states.
The once-in-a-decade meeting is being led by UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon.
Opening the conference, Mr Ban again called for urgent action on climate change.
"We need a meaningful, universal, legal, global climate agreement by the end of next year in Paris," he said.
"The costly affects of climate change are evident everywhere but nowhere more so than in SIDS (small island developing states).
"I'm very concerned that the world is not on track to keep global temperature rise below 2 degrees Celsius."
A new UN development program report to be presented at the conference says one in four Pacific Islanders are living below the poverty line.
The report says the global financial crisis, migration and non-communicable diseases have weakened Pacific economies, and some governments are even struggling to provide basic social services.
"There is a small window and with the right kind of policy choices, which we outline in the report, I think we can turn this situation around," the UN's Peter Batchelor said.
The UN says the average Australian or New Zealander can expect to live 10 years longer than someone from Vanuatu, and 20 years longer than a person from Nauru or Kiribati.
Foreign Minister Julie Bishop is at the conference in the Samoan capital, Apia, and has announced an additional $20 million in funding to help Pacific countries improve living standards.
Ms Bishop also urged regional leaders to build stronger partnerships with the private sector.
"In the Pacific we must be open to finding new, effective, clever ways of helping support economic growth," she said.
"And we must recognise that the challenges faced by small island developing states mean that private sector development will sometimes need government partnership."
Parliamentary Secretary Brett Mason will also address the conference, speaking about how oceans and marine resources can drive economic growth.
Samoa records 269 affected chikungunya fever cases
The number of people affected by chikungunya in Samoa has increased from 51 to 269 in the last two weeks.
The Ministry of Health Director General, Leausa Tole'afoa Dr Take Naseri, says an ongoing clean up and spraying of mosquito breeding sites is continuing with aircraft and ships being sprayed.
He says laboratory tests have shown two deaths thought to be caused by chikungunya were not.
3,000 people from around the world are expected in Apia from later this week week for a major UN conference, and the Ministry has said it hopes to have the outbreak under control by then.
Samoa gets pat on the back from UN for SIDS preparation
Samoa has been congratulated by a senior United Nations official for its preparations for next week's Small Islands Developing States Conference.
The UN's Under Secretary General for Economic and Social Affairs, Wu Hongbo, who arrived in Apia on Sunday, has commended the Prime Minister, Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi, for spearheading preparations for the conference.
In a joint news conference, Prime Minister Tuilaepa says 3 thousand people are expected to attend next week's event with 20 government leaders expected to participate.
American Samoa objects to Obama conservation plan
Owners of longline fishing boats in American Samoa say the US President's proposal to expand an ocean conservation area in the Pacific will damage the territory's fishing and tuna canning industry.
In a letter to Barack Obama, the Tautai o Samoa Longline and Fishing Association says it strongly believes the move is needless and will serve no purpose in the President's efforts to combat overfishing.
The Association points out that the US commercial fishing fleet in the Pacific targets highly migratory pelagic species and President Obama's proposal for the intention of preservation would be meaningless.
It says American Samoa as a hub of the Pacific US fishing fleets faces dire consequences should this expansion take effect.
Guam - As a result of an investigation conducted by the U.S. Department of Labor's Wage Hour Division, the American Samoa Government agreed to pay $177,300 in predominantly overtime back wages to 111 workers employed throughout the government by Aug. 27.
The American Samoa Government also failed to pay an additional 1,491 workers for 133,354 overtime hours worked. These back wages will be paid back to the affected workers throughout the year.
"The latest findings reflect our continuing collaborative efforts with American Samoa government officials to correct past deficiencies in the manner in which work hours were recorded and paid," said Terence Trotter, the division's district director in Hawaii.
"We will continue to train their staff on the compliance principles of the Fair Labor Standards Act."
Call for more action on Chik in American Samoa
Health officials have told a Senate committee in Pago Pago that the total number of people infected by chikungunya had reached 501 compared to about 390 two weeks ago.
Senator Soliai Tuipine Fuimaono says it is time for health officials to seek help from the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention.
However our correspondent Monica Miller says the Department of Health reports it has done a major clean up in villages and the department is in touch with CDC officials on a weekly basis.
"I think it is beginning to stabilise according to the numbers. They are just stressing that - there is no cure for this. The key is prevention and I think people are now more aware of what is going on."
Our correspondent, Monica Miller.
Kolhase found not guilty of manslaughter in deaths of 2 due to car accident
“I don't accept the verdict. Let God be the judge of this matter”
Tears were aplenty in and outside the Supreme Court late yesterday evening where 19-year-old, Leslie Kohlhase, was found not guilty of four charges against her.
The verdict, delivered by four assessors after less than two hours of deliberation, was greeted by sighs of relief by Kohlhase, her legal team and supporters.
Kohlhase had pleaded not guilty to two charges of manslaughter and two alternative charges of negligent driving causing death.
The crash at Vailoa last year, which led to the charges against her, caused the deaths of Jessie Risale, 22, of Vaimoso and Thesaurus Heather, 20, of Tufuiopa.
Last evening, all four assessors were convinced that she was not the driver of the vehicle that morning. In doing so, they found her not guilty of all the charges.
The verdict followed two days of final submissions by lawyers.
Kohlhase was represented by Lei’ataualesa Daryl Clarke and Unasa Leilani Tamati. They are up against the prosecution team made up of Precious Chang and Leone Su’a
Mailo, of the Attorney General’s Office.
The Chief Justice, his Honour Patu Tiava’asu’e Falefatu Sapolu, presided.
The prosecution claimed that they had proven beyond reasonable doubt that Kohlhase indeed drove the vehicle that crashed and killed the two young men last year.
Further, they argued that it had established quite clearly that the accused drove recklessly, endangering the lives of people in the car.
But Leiataualesa disagreed. He reiterated that Kohlhase did not drive the vehicle when it crashed.
Kohlhase’s lawyer said evidence throughout the past three weeks had proven that her client was not the driver when the crash happened.
In the end, the assessors agreed with Lei’ataualesa.
Chief Justice Patu later dismissed all the charges against the defendant.
Neither Lei’ataua, nor his client or any of her relatives would speak to the media after yesterday’s verdict.
Outside the Court room, however, the mother of the late Thesaurus Schuster Heather, May Heather, was in tears.
“I don't accept the verdict,” she said. “This is really not fair for our families. There is still no justice.”
Ms. Heather said she understood that the assessors could have found the defendant not guilty of some of the charges but to have acquitted her of all the charges was simply unacceptable.
“So I’m very disappointed with the verdict.”
Asked if they would appeal, she said they would have to think about it.
For now though, she said: “Let God be the judge of this matter.”
Chik Virus is still spreading in American Samoa
More cases of chikungunya, or chik, virus have been recorded in American Samoa.
The Health Department Director Motusa Tuileama Nua says there are now more than 390 recorded cases of chikungunya, with seven patients hospitalised and no deaths since July the 1st.
That is an increase in confirmed cases of about 45 over the last week.
In an updated health alert, health officials say the chik virus usually lasts one to two weeks but joint pain and stiffness can last many weeks or months.
It says other complications are rare and it pointed out that there is no cure for chik virus.
The government has now set up a chikungunya hotline for residents to call and the health alert urged affected residents not to travel outside Tutuila, even to the territory's Manu'a island group.
Health Alert after two AFR deaths in Samoa
Samoa's Ministry of Health has reported two deaths from Acute Fever and Rash or AFR, saying it is now an outbreak with most cases coming from the Apia urban area.
A press statement from the Director General, Leausa Toleafoa Dr Take Naseri, says there have been 21 recorded AFR cases as of Tuesday this week with four people hospitalised at Tupua Tamasese Meaole hospital.
Three children aged between 2 and 13 and one 45-year-old man were admitted to the intensive care unit.
The ministry says collaboration with other government agencies, and media campaigns, aim to raise awareness of the outbreak and help its containment.
Samoa has also sought assistance from the Ministry of Health's development partners including the Secretariat of the Pacific Community and the World Health Organisation.
American Samoa’s Governor Lolo Moliga back after five months absence
PAGOPAGO, Americana Samoa ---- After five months absence, American Samoa’s Governor Lolo Letalu Moliga has returned to the territory.
The governor left in February for a meeting in Washington D.C. but fell ill and was admitted to hospital.
The government hasn’t given any information on his illness but media reports says it’s understood he had a heart procedure while in hospital in D.C.
The Governor later travelled to Honolulu where he was also admitted to hospital and had been there since undergoing treatment as an out-patient.
The Governor has returned as the Senate is drafting a resolution questioning his extended absence.
300 plus chikungunya cases in American Samoa
The American Samoan Department of Health says there are now more than 300 confirmed cases of chikungunya or 'chik' virus in the territory.
The Health Director Motusa Tuileama Nua says his department and LBJ hospital have confirmed the outbreak of fever, rashes and joint pains among people on the main island of Tutuila is due to chikungunya.
He says there have been 343 recorded cases, with six patients hospitalised and no deaths, since the beginning of July.
He recommends those who are ill with fever and body aches do not travel off island.
Samoa opens its first Casino
By Joyetter Feagaimaalii-Luamanu
“A casino is now open in Samoa with 100 slot machines and six tables,” said Samoa’s Prime Minister Tuilaepa Lupesoliai Sailele Malielegaoi in an exclusive interview with Samoa News last week, where he also pointed out that despite numerous objections, it’s finally open.
He told Samoa News that the idea behind the government's decision to have a casino, is so tourists will spend more time in Samoa and spend their wealth there. He also said it will boost Samoa’s foreign exchange, create new activities for tourism and generate more money for the Samoa government.
He said what was recently opened is one of two venues for the White Sand Casinos, at Aggie Grey’s Lagoon Beach Resort in Mulifanua, with the second one to be opened in Apia with 220 slot machines and 24 tables.
He told Samoa News that some of the income generated from this project will be allocated for education and sports, and that the casino has already created 100 job opportunities for those in Samoa, with more opportunities when the second casino opens.
Samoa News asked about the local laws governing casino operations — which ban Samoan citizens from entering the casinos. He explained that those holding Samoan passports are banned, but those with foreign passports are allowed to take advantage of the casinos, which will be open from 2p.m. to 4a.m. Monday through Saturday. They will be closed on Sundays.
“US passports, New Zealand, Australia, passports aside from Samoan passports are foreign passports — and those in American Samoa who travel all the way to Las Vegas can now come over and try the casinos we have. It’s closer to home and only 45 minutes from Tutuila.”
At the opening night held in August, Samoa Observer reported that Prime Minister Tuilaepa reminded everyone that the road to the casino’s opening was not easy — as there had been many objections about the government’s decision to legalize gambling, including strong opposition from the churches and critics of the government.
But the government persevered because it could foresee the benefits for Samoa, he said. Besides, he said, the decision to issue gambling licenses was not new. He recalled that some 30 years ago, the government had approved a casino license for another hotel company. A Memorandum of Understanding was drafted, but the Casino was never built.
The Prime Minister said that the casinos are made available for people who are interested in them.
“Gambling is a personal choice,” he said. “One can still gamble sensibly.”
It will be at Aggie Greys Resort at Mulifanua, near the international airport, and employ 100 staff.
The Prime Minister, Tuila'epa Sa'ilele Malielegaoi, says the first casino will create more job opportunities and attract more tourists into the country.
Tuila'epa has told reporters in his weekly radio programme the idea behind the government's decision for a casino is for tourists to spend more days in Samoa and spend their wealth.
At the same time the prime minister says more money will be pouring into the local economy.
Big welcome home for Miss Samoa
By Vaughn Elder
The newly crowned Miss Samoa was given a lively welcome by Dunedin's Pacific Island community as she arrived back at Dunedin International Airport yesterday.
Third-year University of Otago law and music student Latafale Auva'a (20), originally from Auckland, was crowned at an event in Samoa on Monday night.
Ms Auva'a, who was welcomed with a haka and singing by more than 20 members of Dunedin's Pacific Island community, said the reception at the airport was ''fantastic''.
Her victory came after an ''overwhelming'' two weeks travelling around Samoa as part of the pageant. The final pageant night, originally meant to be held on Saturday was delayed because of the weather.
This made for an emotional victory as her father, who is full Samoan, had to fly back to New Zealand for the final night.
''When I won, I was so emotional, because I knew my dad wasn't able to be there on the night.
''But I got a call from him, from New Zealand, and he was so ecstatic and he was crying,'' she said.
Representing her family was a big focus for her as she took on the role as Miss Samoa and she was sure her Samoan grandmother, who recently died, would be proud of her achievement.
She attributed some of her success to the fact she was an ''educated woman'' and said at the pageant, she one day wanted to be an MP.
''I said yes [I wanted to be involved in politics], because it's a chance for me to impart knowledge and to improve communities and have a voice in what happens.
''I've still got a lot more learning to do, so probably not in the near future, but who knows, maybe in 10 years' time,'' she said.
The role of Miss Samoa was a serious one and after finishing this year's exams, she would be based in Samoa for the next 12 months.
''It's quite a prominent role for Samoa. From what I gather, I am now the face of Samoa, so I will be welcoming all officials that come to Samoa ...as a representative of the community and of women.''
One of her first tasks would be to contest the Miss South Pacific crown, an event being held in Samoa later this year.
The Worldwide Voyage has a powerful aura that is difficult to describe. From children who swim out in the water to touch the hulls and walk on the decks, to adults who stand and stare and weep when they see the red sails pulling into their shores, to the bystander who tilts her head, curiously pondering the significance of these canoes, the voyage means many things to many people. As crew members, we carry the mission closely with us wherever we go. This mission--Mālama Honua, caring for Island Earth—is as grand as the idea of a sail around the world itself.
I’ve always found it fascinating how different people connect to Hõkūle’a in different ways. For me, the canoe has always been a symbol of freedom and hope. It is a vision of what the Earth could be and how life should be: a balance between modern and traditional, between generations and cultures.
This past week, after sailing a windy passage to the UN Small Islands Developing States (SIDS) Conference in Apia, Samoa, I witnessed just how Hōkūle’a and Hikianalia touch lives beyond the traditional audience of Polynesians. Seeing people like Dr. Sylvia Earle continually come aboard in different parts of the Pacific and then joyfully help to deliver the message of Malama Honua is very humbling. Additionally, getting to sail around Apia Harbor with UN Secretary General, Ban Ki Moon, and hearing how he is willing to rally to get global leaders to support the conservation of oceans, was another eye-opening reminder that the mission of the Worldwide Voyage has gone beyond the shores of Hawai’i and even the waters of the Pacific.
However, the most profound experience for me in Samoa came when we went to the residence of the Head of State of Samoa, Tuiatua Tupua Tamasese Efi. During this gathering, he showered us with traditional gifts of tapa cloth and fine mats, and we all shared the gift of music. In essence, it was a graceful-yet-subtle way of letting us go on our way, as all voyagers should. But before he did, he shared with us some his profound thoughts about the Worldwide Voyage that will stay with me well until after this voyage has ended.
In this message, His Highness connected Mālama Honua to the deeper understanding that we were put on this Earth, not to rule it but take care of it. We humans act as if we are the masters of the Earth, but our actual responsibility is to be the stewards. In all we’ve done to change our planet, we’ve lost our connection with the notion of stewardship. Thus, through the mission of WWV and connecting with communities around the world, we are getting back to the sacred conversation between humanity and our Creator as to the very meaning of our existence. This message, coming from the spiritual leader of Samoa, left a profound impact on us in such a way that, regardless of our beliefs or background, each crew member felt the gravitas of what His Highness Tuiatua was saying.
As we continue our journey to new places and distant shores, I am excited to see how the significance of this voyage will evolve and how these canoes will continue to touch lives along the way. Leaving Samoa, we humbly carry the gifts and the lessons we’ve learned here with us. Personally, I will pay closer attention to the voices of the ocean when we sail (so that I can position myself a little closer to the majesty of nature) and to how I can ultimately be a better steward for this Island Earth.
New partnerships seek to protect world's oceans
3 September 2014 – Fishermen in coastal Samoan villages say there are less fish than there used to be and worry that the fish populations will soon disappear altogether, but participants at a United Nations conference on forming partnerships with small island developing states are vowing to prevent that from happening.
Tolo Aeau fishes for swordfish in the Pacific, which is less than a minute's walk from his home in Luatuanu'u, eastern Samoa. He fishes to break up routine of his chicken or beef dinnrs. But the most frequent fishermen on this part of the beach, which survived the 2009 tsunami, are people from outside the village who often sell the catch.
“Big difference because the last couple of years we found fish before the reef. Now if you don't go far, you won't find any,” Mr. Aeau told the UN News Centre. “It's a big worry. What will happen in the next 10 years.”
The waters off the Pacific Islands region cover around 40 million square kilometers, the equivalent of about one-third of the world's surface area. The waters have some of the largest stocks of tuna, as well as sharks, billfish, marine mammals and turtles.
To illustrate just how much these natural resources are worth, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) reported that of the 2.4 million tonnes of tuna caught in the Western Pacific Ocean, 1.4 million have been taken from this region at a value of $2.8 billion.
“SIDS [Small Island Developing States] are basically environment based economies, they depend heavily on fisheries and tourism. So they depend on their environment assets and that is where the opportunities lie for them,” explained Kaven Zahedi, Regional Director and Representative for Asia and the Pacific at the UN Environment Programme (UNEP).
This is the basis of so-called 'green-blue economy.' Green economy is an economy where the natural assets are considered as part of the decision making process. Blue economy is one where most of those assets happen to be marine based assets.
“In the context of SIDS, we are really talking about the same thing,” Mr. Zahedi said, speaking on Wednesday from the sidelines of the Third International Small Island Developing States Conference in Samoa.
The Partnership for Action on Green Economy (PAGE) – which involves UNEP, the UN International Labour Organization (ILO), UN Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) and the UN Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) – is supporting 30 countries over the next six years to build national green economy strategies.
“Unless you have commitment from the highest levels in the country, it's simply not going to happen,” Mr. Zahedi said.
PAGE, which was launched last year, established a partnership at the conference to, among other things, show Governments what type of technology can be used or what models can from other regions could be replicated here. The partnership is among the more than 300 others which are being announced before the conference wraps-up later today.
“I think more than anything, we help to point out the possibilities that exist. Because in a way we're talking about a different mindset, a different economy, and we need to instill the confidence in countries that it is possible, that decision is theirs for the taking,” he noted.
Some of the environmental challenges islanders face are localized, such as habitat destruction or waste management, but others are more global, like rising sea levels and frequency of weather events linked to climate change.
“When I look at the issues at stake, in terms of food security, shoreline protection, economy, livelihoods, cultural identity, I think there's so much value there, so why are we not able to harness 1 per cent of the value,” oceanographer Jan Newton said while on break from the multi-stakeholder partnership dialogue on 'Oceans, Seas and Biodiversity.' The partnership dialogue is one of six sessions with representatives of government, the private sector and civil society, organized as part of the official conference.
Ms. Newton is a member of the Global Ocean Acidification Observing Network (GOA-ON) which announced its own partnership at the conference, with a series of institutions, including the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization's (UNESCO) International Ocean Carbon Coordination Project.
One of the goals of the partnership is to acquire and exchange biogeochemical data that can be used in modeling ocean acidity and its impact.
Ocean acidification and climate change are closely linked, both caused by increasing atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations. One-third of the carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere went into the oceans, raising the acidity of the waters by 30 per cent and changing the oceans chemistry.
For example, ocean acidification is responsible for corals turning white, and why oysters have increasing problems forming a hard shell.
The data from this new partnership has very practical applications for local communities and fisherman. Shellfish grower, Mark Whiker, who works with Ms. Newton likened such data to putting headlights on a car, “you can see where you're going.
Ms. Newton also took part in an international pre-conference workshop on ocean acidification, which was held aboard the Pacific Jewel in the Apia harbor on 28 and 29 August, and whose report was shared at the partnership dialogue.
The workshop, organized by the Governments of New Zealand and the United States, was meant to create networks ocean acidification networks for the Caribbean, Pacific Islands and the Atlantic, Indian Ocean, Mediterranean, and South China Sea, among people who would have had no ways of meeting to meet and plan.
The topics discussed in Samoa will resurface later this month at the Secretary-General Climate Summit at the UN Headquarters on 23 September.
In Luatuanu'u, Mr. Aueu is optimistic all this attention will translate into real action, “High tide, earthquakes. I hope they will stop these things from happening. I hope they will make lives better for us.”
Urging sustainable action, UN officials link small islands to global issues at conference opening
UN News Centre August 2014 –
Calling small island developing nations a magnifying glass for vulnerabilities around the world, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Monday urged the international community to support sustainable development in these countries through multi-stakeholder partnerships.
“By addressing the issues facing SIDS we are developing the tools we need to promote sustainable development across the entire world,” Mr. Ban said at the opening session of the Third International Conference on Small Island Developing States in the Samoan capital, Apia.
The conference is being held in the Pacific to demonstrate first-hand the challenges and opportunities facing countries in the “small island developing states” group. These include high costs for energy and transportation, susceptibility to natural disasters, and vulnerability to external shocks. The island nations are also prime destinations for tourism, naturally endowed with 'green energy' resources like sun and wind, and driving so-called 'blue growth' economy linked to marine and maritime sectors.
“We must assess progress and identify new challenges as well as opportunities,” he told more than 3,000 representatives of government and civil society, and business leaders.
The overall goal, particularly since the four-day conference's final document has already been hammered out, is to form genuine and durable partnerships among the various participants, with the aim of strengthening island initiatives that can help address global issues.
“Lasting progress can ultimately only be achieved within a propitious international environment that supports national efforts,” John Ashe, President of the General Assembly said in his opening remarks.
At the time of the opening, at least 287 partnerships were already registered on the official website.
“When one looks at partnerships in terms of the numbers, I would say this conference is a huge success,” Mr. Ashe said in an interview after the opening session. “Based on what we've seen so far, there is considerable interest in partnerships with SIDS.”
A common theme throughout the pre-conference events and today's opening is climate change, and efforts to stem its impact.
In his opening address, Prime Minister Tuilaepa Aiono Sailele Malielegaoi urged organizers to take concrete steps to stem rising sea levels. He noted that critical problems do not recognise borders and hold no respect for sovereignty.
“The big problems of our small islands will sooner rather than later impact every country irrespective of level of development of prosperity,” said the Prime Minister.
Turning to participants of the conference, he urged them to act: “There are always great opportunities to deliver moralistic statements and declarations of intent. But grandstanding won't achieve our cause.
This week's conference comes ahead of Mr. Ban's Climate Summit which will be held on 23 September at UN Headquarters in New York. The summit is meant to catalyze action and build momentum for a climate agreement to be discussed next year in Paris.
“SIDS will have an important role to play,” Mr. Ban said. “You can tell the largest emitters what action you expect from them. And you can show how you are working to build resilience and create the green economies of the future.”
“You can set an example for the world,” he added, noting that this year is also the International Year of Small Island Developing States.
In addition to the plenary session, six so-called 'partnership dialogues' have been organized on the themes of sustainable economic development; climate change and disaster risk management; social development in SIDS, health and non-communicable diseases, youth and women; sustainable energy; oceans, seas and biodiversity; water and sanitation, food security and waste management.
The topics are related to the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) which the international community is working to reach by next year's deadline, as well as the sustainable development goals that will follow post-2015.
According to the Rio+20 Conference on Sustainable Development, small islands had made less progress on the MDGs than other countries, with some even regressing.
One in four Pacific islanders live below the poverty line, according to a UN Development Programme's (UNDP) 'State of Human Development in the Pacific' released Saturday.
Promotion of adequate health services and basic education, as well as prioritizing social protections in national budgets are some of its recommendations.
iTunes in Samoa to team up with UN to showcase music from small island nations
25 August 2014 – Ahead of a major United Nations conference in Samoa on small island developing countries, iTunes has teamed up with the UN to create a dedicated page on the popular site – launched today – featuring music from artists born and raised in some of the world’s smallest islands.
The "Island Voices" initiative (www.iTunes.com/islandvoices) showcases the eclectic range of works of 57 musicians from the world’s small island nations and features their songs, which can be easily accessed and purchased from the online iTunes Store.
Drawing attention to the Third United Nations Conference on the Small Island Developing States , scheduled to take place from 1 to 5 September in the Samoan capital, Apia, the iTunes partnership also coincides with the 2014 International Year of Small Island Developing States , which has been designated by the UN to celebrate the remarkable diversity, culture and heritage of small islands throughout the world.
The dedicated page on iTunes aims to promote the diversity of music from the islands and its contribution to international music, and will feature the best works from the Caribbean, Pacific and Indian Ocean islands, celebrate many of gifted singers and songwriters and promote music across multiple genres, from reggae to calypso, and from hip-hop to jazz and dance.
Among the well-known icons included on the iTunes page are Bob Marley (Jamaica), Rihanna (Barbados), Cèsaria Evoria (Cape Verde) and Ibrahim Ferrer (Cuba).
‘Island Voices’ will also spotlight lesser known musicians, such as Vanessa Quai from the Republic of Vanuatu, Dilli Allstars from Timor-Leste, Rosalia from Fiji and Imany Mladja, from Comoros.
In a video-message on the iTunes page, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon emphasizes that artists from the small island developing States are among the “giants in musical history.”
“Every day, island voices are heard all across the planet through music. They represent the spirit and aspiration of the people” said Mr. Ban. “Music helps connect these beautiful islands to the wilder world, influencing global popular culture” he added.
The partnership was initiated by the UN Office for Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States (UN-OHRLLS), which worked with Permanent Missions of small island States and iTunes’ specialist music curators to create a list of songs and artists that reflect the variety and the quality of these 57 islands and their culture.
“One of the chief challenges that all islands face is remoteness, and as such, connectivity to the wider world is a key challenge. iTunes is arguably the largest megaphone in the world, and what better opportunity to showcase the extraordinary and vibrant musical heritage from the small islands” said Ricardo Dunn, Advocacy and Outreach Officer for UN-OHRLLS.
Two days before the official conference on the Small Island Developing States next week, UN-OHRLLS has organized a Private Sector Partnership Forum in Samoa, and hopes that this will be the first of many innovative initiatives to be announced that will benefit small island nations.
Samoa’s leading recycler says there is money to be made in car tyres and plastic bottles if the country can recycle them on-island.
SAMOA --- Pacific Recycles manager Silafau Ioane Sio says that tyres and plastic bottles have a low value on the recycling market so processing them on-island is the key to managing this growing waste problem in Samoa.
“There are more cars on the roads and more plastic bottles than ever before but we don’t have the machines to process them here and to export them is expensive when you consider the small return. We need to diversify.”
Silafau says he has been working with an Australian company to look at the viability of recycling in Samoa but the cost of the machines is too expensive without and investor or donor assistance.
“I’ve seen recycling companies in Japan make oil from plastic, and He says he would also like to see Container Deposit Legislation (CDL) brought into Samoa.
This legislation would see importers paying a levy for each container imported. This cost would be passed onto the consumer who will receive a portion of that levy as a refund on the return of the container. The remaining part of the levy is often used to fund the cost of processing returned containers.
Already Ministry of Natural Resources and the Environment have attended trainings on implementing this type of legislation run by the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP).
SPREP estimates that in the Pacific municipal solid waste is composed of 60 per cent organic, 35 per cent potentially recyclable - equalling about 760,000 tonnes per year – and five per cent categorized as other.
Palau has had its legislation since 2011. One of the unique features of that legislation in Palau is the high deposit per container (US10c), which allows the government to refund, operate and save extra money at the "Recycling Fund" to cover the expenses of waste management activities.
Since bringing container deposit legislation Palau, Yap, Federated States of Micronesia and Kiribati have recycled more than 37.2 million containers. It has also seen positive spin-offs in the way of business development, job creation, less waste to landfill and less litter.
Pacific Recycles handles about 25 per cent of total recyclable waste in Samoa, according to Silafau.
The private company has cages for bottle and can collection at sites around central Upolu including a number of schools. It also regularly receives recyclables from people who sort through Tafaigata Landfill.
“Some schools such as Samoa Primary, Robert Louis Stevenson and Fa’atuatua are very good with their segregation. I think it is part of their environmental education.”
When asked if he was open to the idea of village collection programmes for cash, he said he was happy to take enquiries from rural villages. “I guess for them it is a little bit of income and it also deals with a litter problem.”
Pacific Recycles started seven years ago with a staff of four and now has a staff of 23 and an office in Savaii as well. The recycler also handles scrap metal, aluminum cans and plastic bottles from Tokelau.