The Seychelles generate on average amount of 70,000 tons of waste per year. Waste are disposed in Communal bins sites around the islands and the waste are collected and transported in refused compactor trucks which then are transferred to a controlled landfill at Providence. Solid Waste Management (SWM) poses a significant challenge to Seychelles that suffers from many of the usual issues associated with managing waste within a Small Island Developing State (SIDS), such as lack of funding & capacity, high costs of transportation, absence of engineered landfills and scarcity of land.
The Ministry of Environment, Energy and climate Change is responsible for the development and the implementation of all waste management policy, legal and regulatory frameworks. The Waste enforcement and Permit Division of the Environment Department is responsible for developing all policies regarding waste, waste collection, characterization, treatment and disposal. The Seychelles National Waste Policy 2018-2023 was recently approved in December 2018 and the overall goal is to ensure that “Waste is managed in a sustainable manner, following the set guiding principles and approaches, in order to protect the integrity of the environment and improve the quality of life in Seychelles “.
The Ministry of Environment, Energy and Climate Change is committed to improving the existing waste management system, by implementing waste reduction and recovery strategies, strengthening its institutional and legal framework, upgrading waste operations in line with international practices.
All disposal and transportation procedures pertaining to waste management fall under the Basel Convention. The Basel and Stockholm convention are together managed in a way that chemicals and their derivatives are regulated for the importation, transportation, usage and final disposal purposes. Hence, there are a number of procedures in place which regulates these chemicals and waste. For instance forms are to be completed and permits issued in order for a person to export waste oil, car batteries, scrap metals, pet bottles, aluminum can from the Seychelles. Similarly a form needs to be completed and permit issued in order for a person to dispose of any hazardous waste including asbestos, waste oil, expired medication and chemicals to the landfill. The Ministry oversee the implementation of the Waste Management Policy, solid waste Master Plan and other contractual documents with any projects under the Basel and Rotterdam convention.
The Landscape and Waste Management Agency (LWMA) is the Agency responsible for the cleaning and beautification of Seychelles. They also administer waste management contracts for waste collection and landfill management. LWMA monitors and manages the different contractors for waste collection, landfill management, beach and road cleaning in the Seychelles. LWMA also issues contracts for trimming of branches above primary and secondary roads, cleaning of the inter-island quay car park, de-littering and cutting of grass at Beau Vallon and maintenance of the public toilet at the Victoria taxi stand.
Currently the country produces about 5000 tons of waste per month, a third of which comes directly from residential bin sites and retail shops. There is yet to be waste sorting in Seychelles but the Ministry of environment is currently developing the Seychelles Waste master Plan for sustainable waste management system in Seychelles.
Plastics continue to be persistent in the environment and have significant aesthetic and wildlife negative impacts. It is known that plastics can take hundreds of years to break down resulting in long-term impacts on the environment, including posing threats to marine life and contributing to flooding due to blocked drains and waterways. Plastic straws only get used for a few minutes but last for hundreds of years in the environment. Plastic straws are amongst the top 10 pollutants collected during beach cleanups. They further destroy the marine life without decomposing completely and break into micro plastics which eventually enter the food chain. These straws are contributing to the alarming increase of micro plastic, within our oceans, river and food chain. We need not be reminded that plastic are petrochemicals, are not meant to be ingested in any way or form and is extremely hazardous to any living organism.
As such the initiative in 2017 was to restrict the manufacturing, importation, sales and distribution of single use plastic items such as cups, bags, utensils and Styrofoam boxes. The next step in 2019 was the restriction on single use plastic straws and they are one of the plastic items causing a major nuisance to global ecology and environment as a whole. They are very light and small, therefore are easily carried out at sea and other water bodies by wind and surface water run-off.