In a recent initiative spearheaded by the Pacific Tourism Organisation(SPTO) through its Pacific Tourism Waste Action Initiatives (PTWAI), thirty-six participants from various community organisations, including Lavame’a T’a’e’iloa for Disable People Association, Alonga Center, Langafonua Handicraft Centre, Hofoa Youth, Women in Horticulture and Tourism, No Pelestiki, Tonga Ladies Association, and other Civil Society Organizations, completed a hands-on three-day training program, transforming plastic waste into unique jewellery and art.
The initiative marks a significant step towards sustainable waste management and culminated in the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the Tonga Ministry of Tourism and No Pelesitiki. This partnership reflects a commitment to combat plastic pollution through advocacy and community-led action. The training program was dedicated to the memory of the late Eleni Tevi, a key figure in fostering partnerships for Tonga’s plastic pollution reduction movement.
“We are thrilled to see such diverse participants come together for this innovative initiative. It demonstrates the power of collaboration and highlights the tangible steps to address the global issue of plastic pollution,” said Tonga Ministry of Tourism Chief Executive Officer Viliami Takau.
“The program’s success would not have been possible without the active involvement of all participants, as well as the technical guidance from Creative Consultant, Warwick Marlow, and support from key organisations such as the New Zealand Maori Tourism, Tea Tree Golf Club Hobart, Tasmania, SPTO, and No Pelesitiki.”
SPTO’s Sustainable Tourism Manager Christina Gale noted that this week has delivered one of the best and unique results for the PTWAI, an indication of the creativity of our diverse group of participants.
“CEO Viliami Takau and his team at the Ministry of Tourism and Tonga Tourism Authority must be commended for bringing everyone together and making this training possible. The assistance from our partners from New Zealand and Australia underscores the importance of international collaboration in addressing environmental challenges in the Pacific through support for enhancing tourism and creative industries linkages. As participants embark on their journey to repurpose waste plastic into art and more, the ripple effects of this initiative will contribute significantly to Tonga’s ongoing waste management and environmental conservation efforts,” she said.