Australian recycler of mercury-containing waste CMA Ecocycle has partnered with Papua New Guinean environmental services company Total Waste Management (TWM) to reduce a history of international transfers of toxic waste.
The Australian company plans to take mercury-containing waste collected by TWM, primarily fluorescent lighting, and process it in its Melbourne facilities.
CMA Ecocycle said the tendency in the past was for industrialised countries to ship waste to less developed nations where it is either dumped, often illegally or manually broken down for recycling with no regard given to the health and safety of workers.
They said their long-term plan was to install a lighting recycling plant in Port Moresby, PNG, and provide training at the TWM operated facility.
Daryl Moyle, Business Development Manager at CMA Ecocycle, said managing mercury waste was a growing priority in the Pacific Islands region, and PNG was just the first step in CMA Ecocycle’s plans for the region.
“With the support of TWM we hope to increase awareness of this toxic substance, its impact on the environment and how we can all protect these often small and vulnerable islands by implementing simple but important recycling solutions,” Mr Moyle said.
In 2015, a sub-regional workshop on the Minamata Convention, aimed at supporting Pacific Islands in the early ratification and implementation of the convention, was held in Samoa.
Topics discussed at the workshop included the levels of mercury in Pacific fish, and the need for adequate institutional and border controls to manage mercury.
The PNG government is also active in running awareness campaigns about mercury pollution and the Minamata Convention at home, and taking a leading role on the issue in the Pacific region.