NES is excited to confirm approval of its proposal to the Pacific Ocean Litter Project (POLP), funded by the Australian Government through the Secretariat of the Pacific Environment Programme (SPREP).
The project aims to reduce the volume of single-use plastics (SUPs) that pollute the marine environment in the Pacific. The POLP will run for 7 years, where SPREP implements in collaboration with 14 Pacific islands countries including the Cook Islands. The Cook Islands allocation is $1 million for a period of 2 years.
Plastic pollution is of particular concern to the Cook Islands given the vulnerability of our Pa Enua communities who strongly rely on marine resources to sustain their nutrition, income, and traditional ways of life.
The same sentiments apply to the more developed islands of Rarotonga and Aitutaki, where most of the population reside.
The Cook Islands seeks assistance from this project to develop and strengthen an integrated, multi-sectoral approach to SUP management as well as enable local businesses and communities to develop creative approaches for plastic alternatives and reduction.
The proposed activities under this project range from developing national strategies, supporting grassroots initiatives to reduce plastic consumption, education and awareness activities, research, and data collection to inform decision making and improving waste management facilities.
Halatoa Fua stated ‘the POLP project comes at the right time of re-setting the Cook Islands efforts in strengthening baselines and preparing its framework. NES is part of the negotiations of the new legally binding global treaty to end plastic pollution, which final negotiations are planned for the end of 2024. The POLP funding prepares the Cook Islands’ framework as a steppingstone to the implementation of the global treaty.