ENVIRONMENT Minister Colonel Samuela Saumatua highlighted at a regional workshop that waste management is one of the biggest challenges facing Pacific Island countries today.
He said growing volumes of solid and hazardous waste had become a major threat to the environment.
"Globalisation is accelerating with increasing urbanisation, migration and participation in international trade," Col. Saumatua said.
"This is resulting in an escalation of solid and liquid wastes, more shipping and land transport and more infrastructure and industry throughout the region, all of which increase the risk of land, coastal and marine pollution from waste."
He said the lack of controls on imported goods, with the lack of capacity to manage waste threatened to undermine the quality and health of vulnerable island ecosystems on which Pacific Islands depended.
"We all have a role to play in waste management and we can start by encouraging our communities, municipal councils and governments to think of waste management as a tool that would have tangible benefits on health, tourism, nature conservation and biodiversity," he said. The workshop was organised by the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme and French Development Agency.