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Pacific Tourism Waste Action Initiative (PTWAI)

OVERVIEW

Oceans cover three-quarters of the Earth’s surface (75%), contain 97 per cent of the Earth’s water, and represent 99 per cent of the living space on the planet by volume. And with over three billion people dependent on marine and coastal biodiversity for their livelihoods including the Pacific Region where the majority of the population lives in coastal areas, the need to sustainably manage and conserve our oceans and marine resources is now more crucial and urgent than ever. Anthropogenic factors negatively impacting our ocean’s resources include overfishing, ocean acidification, and marine pollution.

Tourism in the Pacific depends on a healthy ocean and ocean ecosystem and as such, the Pacific Sustainable Tourism Policy Framework 2030 acknowledges the tourism sector’s commitment to Goal 4 on “Healthy Islands and Oceans” where ‘Tourism accelerates climate action, protects our ecosystems and supports resilience’.  Within this context, the Pacific Tourism Waste Action Initiative (PTWAI) acts as the platform for the tourism sector’s waste action initiatives.  With the long-term goal of showcasing and supporting all types of waste management interventions, the PTWAI has prioritized plastic waste response while seeking out partnerships and resources to expand to other areas.

PLASTIC REPURPOSING

The Pacific Tourism Waste Action Initiative (PTWAI) is a Pacific Tourism Organisation (SPTO) led programme focused on addressing key waste management challenges in Pacific communities through tourism. The initiative explores innovative and inclusive approaches from the tourism sector as its contribution to reducing the waste footprint of tourism on the environment and protection of our lands and oceans from waste pollution for the benefit of our people, visitors, and generations to come.

As part of the PTWAI, SPTO has launched its Plastic Repurposing Workshop which, harnesses the creative talents of our Pacific communities and marries these to contemporary waste materials generated from the tourism industry, such as PET plastic bottles.  The initiative capitalizes on repurposing all or parts of PET plastic bottles for the creation of jewellery (earrings, necklaces, pendants, bracelets) wind chimes and other decorative items that can be re-sold to hotels, visitors, locals, restaurants, cafes and tourism businesses thereby encouraging a circular approach.

The Plastics Repurposing Training Workshop is a joint collaboration with renowned Fijian Artist Warwick Marlow which was launched in Fiji as part of the My Fiji Shark Project supported by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in 2019. 

With the support of the Pacific Island Forum Secretariat the programme has been replicated in Tuvalu and since November 2020, has been delivered through a hybrid approach online and face to face at country level in Kiribati, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia and Nauru.

Beneficiaries of the project have included local communities in each island nation with groups consisting of women, men, youth, the elderly, people with disabilities, members from the LGBTQI community and from tourism reliant communities. Training has also included those in the community working in tourism who have lost their jobs due to the impact of COVID19. Through the project, tools are provided for participants and National Tourism Offices are leading the coordination work in-country.

The PTWAI programme incorporates both traditional and scientific knowledge to contribute to marine conservation whilst simultaneously creating sustainable livelihoods for tourism reliant communities. As part of PTWAI, the Tourism Authority of Kiribati claimed the Best Strategy for Creative Tourism Development award from the Creative Tourism Network. 

PTWAI IN ACTION

Fiji

Federated States of Micronesia

Kiribati

Nauru

Republic of the Marshall Islands

Tuvalu

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