The National Environment Service (NES) has partnered with Cook Islands General Transport (CIGT) to launch the “Titā ki te Titā kore.” This initiative is aimed at tackling the environmental and health risks posed by the improper disposal of whiteware, electronic waste (E-Waste) and end-of-life vehicles (ELVs) on Rarotonga. This forward-looking initiative reflects the Cook Islands Government’s commitment to environmental stewardship and sustainable waste management practices.
NES received funds for the 2023/24 and 2024/25 financial year appropriation to support the safe collection, removal, transportation and recycling of legacy waste on Rarotonga. The issue of legacy waste is acknowledged to be an issue by NES, as embedded to the 5-Year Strategic Framework, National Environment Policy 2022-32 and work plans under multiple Multilateral Environment Agreements.
Halatoa Fua, NES Director, acknowledged the Cook Islands Government for allocating funds to assist with the safe removal of legacy on Rarotonga. He stated ‘the leakage of waste to water, air and soil, also impacts our human health. We must protect our environment by doing what is right. We seek the community’s support to identify all the listed items regarded as waste and prepare them for collection. We thank all our partners including the Punas and our communities for making this happen”.
Titā ki te Titā kore – This vision statement is encouraging Cook Islands to move towards a Waste Free Country that aligns with the Net Zero Waste 2040 goal in the NSDA 2020+.
This project has been eagerly anticipated by both NES and CIGT, acknowledging the years of legacy waste accumulation that have prompted our collaborative efforts. The last legacy waste collection drive was done by NES in 2014, with sporadic community projects in the last 3 years through Global Environment Facility Small Grants Programme (GEF-SGP) facilitated through Cook Islands Red Cross.
CIGT will engage in close collaboration with local Puna’s on Rarotonga to implement the program at the community level. Recycling and disposal fees, applicable to both commercial businesses and private households, will be enforced by CIGT. Additionally, individuals will be required to register with CIGT to ensure a smooth transition of collection once the programme starts.
Whilst the Titā ki te Titā kore programme will only apply to Rarotonga, a separate programme has been confirmed to be rolled out in the Pa Enua to tackle these same waste streams that have accumulated there. Further information on this will be released in due course.