SSAB Tackles Samoa’s Electronic Waste Problem


07 July 2019, Apia Samoa. Tackling Samoa’s E-waste problem was being discussed in a workshop facilitated by Samoa Stationery and Books (SSAB) in partnership with the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MNRE) and funded by the International Labour Organisation (ILO).

Focused on electronic waste the workshop studied legislation and government initiatives, occupational health and safety concerns and best practice approaches to e-waste management.

SSAB Managing Director Tofilau Fiti Leung Wai led the way to discussions on how other government and private organisations can work together to help lessen the impact on the environment by removing e-waste from Samoa.

“Tackling E-waste is a collective responsibility amongst SSAB, its relevant partners and stakeholders,” said Tofilau.

“We cannot do it alone and that is also another reason why we held this workshop today, is to discuss how we can work collaboratively to save our environment by removing e-waste responsibly from Samoa.”

Tofilau said, in 2014 SPREP conducted a country assement where they revealed the need for improvement between partnerships and all stakeholders in tackling the e-waste problem.

The issue was also reaffirmed in SPREP’s 2018 e-waste review.

Tofilau added that as the owner of one of the biggest importers of electronic appliances and white-ware products in Samoa, SSAB needs to play a major role in minimising and recycling e-waste to protect Samoa’s pristine environment.

“For me as a Samoan and a business owner, it was an eye opener when I realised that no one was fully in charge of e-waste in Samoa.

“As there wasn’t any entity taking the lead in disposing of e-watse, most of the e-waste is filling up our landfills.”

Tofilau went on to say, the workshop should address E-waste in Samoa by; “identifying the pertinent issues that we are currently facing and identifying possible solutions so we can devise a practical roadmap.”

She also believe that a multi stakeholder approach is the only way forward in addressing e-waste and waste in general.

Chief Executive Officer of the Ministry of Natural Environment, Ulu Bismark Crawley, said the Government as well as the Ministry fully supports the push to manage e-waste better.

He added, the government’s role in this is to regulate and establish good policy.

“Working with the private sector, and other organisations to manage e-waste is a priority, as it implements the national waste management strategy that was launched last year;

“The Ministry is taking responsibility for sorting waste in the town area, having installed sets of recycle rubbish bins along the new waterfront development area,” said Ulu.

He added, the contractors are collecting, sorting and weighing the rubbish and plans are in the pipeline to take the recyclables off the island.

President of the Samoa Recyclers and Waste Management Association, Marina Keil said in her speech that there is a huge need for resources in order to tackle this growing problem in Samoa.
“We need training, we need machinery, we need regulations and laws to be enforced; we need the support of all ministries, private sector, and the public; we need donors to fund the many projects sitting on my desk, and most importantly, we need action,” she said.

“The income generated from one container of e-waste will nowhere near cover the operational costs involved in preparing a container for export, and that is why we are always asking for assistance.”