Waste Management Planning in Rarotonga: Issues and Opportunities

Waste management Recycling Sustainable development Waste minimization Cook Islands

Issues surrounding environmental legislation and policy lead to unsustainable outcomes in waste management and practice in Rarotonga, Cook Islands. As a result local people's lives are affected in a range of different ways. Despite the adoption of a draft National Waste Management Strategy by the government, and that technological progress has taken place – for example in landfill operations, the future of waste management in Rarotonga is uncertain and requires strategic long-term planning.Rarotonga – with a population equivalent to an average New Zealand town and run as like a full-scale nation – is the largest of the Cook Islands and is the location of Avarua, the country's capital city. With a unique history, geography, economy, and culture, these factors converge in Rarotonga to form a complex assemblage that influences the functioning of its waste management planning framework.The literature review conducted as part of this thesis identified the lack of extensive research into the sustainability of the waste management planning system of Rarotonga. From a humanistic planning perspective, this thesis aims to critically identify and analyse the achieved progress and remaining deficiencies in sustainable waste management in Rarotonga, with a specific interest in the robustness of long- term strategic planning and evaluation. It investigates planning and waste management policy and practice to address the question: How can waste management in Rarotonga become more sustainable, efficient, and future-proof?Primary data was collected through interviews with stakeholders from government, business and community. One of the findings of the research is that recent political commitment to waste management enables the pursuit of various opportunities for the improvement of the system. Furthermore, it has been identified that for increased community involvement to occur in waste management planning, which according to the research findings is a key requirement to achieve future-proofness, the existing system needs to become more complete and effective.The outcomes of the research indicate that a more integrative, strategic and holistic approach is needed to future-proof and increase the efficacy of Rarotonga's waste management planning framework, consequently ensuring its sustainability. Informed by the results, a multi stage model comprising key recommendations is proposed, which includes a number of strategic planning and management concepts, as well as aspects of quality evaluation, that could be considered for implementation.

Publication Details