Dinner Dialogue with Te Kamwengaraoi Steering Committee

A dinner dialogue with Te Kamwengaraoi Steering Committee was hosted by the Minister of MELAD, Ruateki Tekaiara, on Friday evening 10th February 2023 at the Ocean Family Restaurant in Bairiki.

The dialogue aimed at addressing the pressing issue of poor waste management on South Tarawa and to gain insights from community and church representatives on their views to addressing these.

One of the pressing issues raised for discussion was the deposition of inorganic wastes in beach brush constructions (“katei buibui”). As was presented by ECD-MELAD’s Waste Disposal Officer, it has become increasingly evident that inorganic wastes are being used to fill up these constructed beach brushes. These add to more pollution of beaches and sea when on a high-tide waves carry these wastes into the sea. The attendees were informed that a better alternative would be to use coconut leaves and organic wastes as backfill and were also encouraged to inform their community and church members of this.

While the Green Bag and Kaoki Maange Systems were noted to be currently active solutions to addressing the waste issues on South Tarawa, it was acknowledged that the systems are still in need of improvement with collaborative assistance from churches and communities.

Among those who attended were representatives from the Roman Catholic Church, Kiribati Protestant Church, Kiribati Uniting Church, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, Assemblies of God, and Baha’i. A representative from New Zealand’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade also joined MELAD officials in hosting the dialogue.

The dialogue was supported by the New Zealand funded Kiribati Solid Waste Management Programme Phase III through the Environment and Conservation Division of the Ministry of Environment, Lands and Agriculture Development.