News

2 years ago

Why island nations produce so much waste

Island nations

The world produces over 2 billion tonnes of municipal solid waste per year. 33% of this is not managed in environmentally conscious ways. In particular, island nations tend to struggle with their waste production and management. They meet barriers that reduce their options for tackling waste. These include seasonal waste increases, a lack of funding, and less strict legislation.

Out of the five countries that produce the most waste, three are islands; Antigua and Barbuda, St. Kitts and Nevis, and Sri Lanka. So what is it about island nations that make them so synonymous with excessive waste?

Seasonal population

A large contributor to the problem is the fact these are tourist hotspots. And, as a result, there will always be seasonal spikes in waste production. This makes it difficult to maintain consistent interest and commitment to waste management.

Here one day and gone the next, tourists aren’t going to commit to waste control like locals would. And the locals may feel they’re fighting a losing battle when all their hard work gets reversed the second summer comes around. 

When tackling this, it might be difficult to find enough seasonal workers who are happy with only casual work. Or if large amounts of money and effort get thrown into tackling waste year-round, what’s going to happen during the quiet seasons?

Infrastructure

Island’s tend to have small permanent populations. They lack the funding or tax-raising capacity to support modern waste management efforts. Because of this, they won’t have the necessary infrastructure. Without modern waste facilities, they’re unable to handle their waste as environmentally as they may want.

Especially in remote locations, getting those materials out of the country for recycling is possible, but extremely expensive. At this point, it becomes difficult for them to justify the expense for the sake of sustainability.

Legislation

Another factor is the more lax approach to legislation than found in mainland states. They aren’t held accountable to the same degree and are less motivated to make the most environmental choices.

Legislation and governmental funding go hand in hand, with island nations often lacking both. So it’s a double-bind that they often find themselves caught up in.

For the world as a whole, our production of waste is a massive issue. But it becomes an even bigger issue when the most appropriate and sustainable ways of dealing with waste aren’t possible. On island nations, they often lack the population, funding, or governmental support to tackle their waste in environmental ways. So it begs the question: what can we do?

At TPSG we understand that waste is a massive, worldwide issue. But we’re doing our part to try to ease the negative effects we have on our planet. That’s why we try to minimise the amount of plastic and non-recyclable products used. If you have any questions, get in touch on 01782 213 116.

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