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United Nations Environment Programme
Division of Technology, Industry and Economics
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Newsletter and Technical Publications
<International Source Book On Environmentally Sound Technologies
for Wastewater and Stormwater Management>

8. Small Island Developing States (Pacific)

8.0 Introduction

8.0.1 Background

The Pacific Ocean covers some 18 million km2 or about 36% of the Earth’s surface. Scattered throughout the Pacific are over 30,000 small islands and a number of larger islands (each over 2,000 km2 in area), which emerge from the sea floor. Of these about 1,000 are inhabited. The Map shows the Pacific Region covered in this report.


(lager image)

Small Island Developing States (SIDS) are unique. They consist of relatively small landmasses completely surrounded by the sea. The ocean isolates SIDS from one another so they have no shared borders with other countries. Travel between islands may be difficult and expensive.

The natural environment throughout the Pacific SIDS is extremely fragile and is highly vulnerable to both natural and human impacts. Natural hazards like cyclones, droughts, earthquakes and tsunamis may strike at anytime and in most places within the Pacific Region. In the past decade, changing climate patterns, rapidly growing populations and increasing pressures on limited natural resources in many countries have produced a crisis of damage to, and depletion of, these resources most necessary for basic life support, especially freshwater supply. The economic and public health implications of the crisis have provoked an urgent need for greatly improved management, planning, operation, and maintenance of the water supply and sanitation sector, associated environmental protection, and conservation of both surface and groundwater resources.

Traditionally and culturally people living on SIDS have strong ties with their coastal marine areas. The disposal of wastewater and stormwater definitely has negative impacts on both freshwater and coastal marine environments affecting public health, ecosystems and the economy of SIDS. Greater efforts and resources are required regionally, nationally and individually to help minimise these impacts of land-based waste disposal on the fragile environment.

8.0.2 Overview compiling method

Information presented in this overview was obtained by:

  • Abstraction from existing reports and studies
  • Contact with individual agencies responsible for wastewater and stormwater management (see Appendix 1 for responses)
  • Personal knowledge of waste disposal methods within the Region

Appendix 1 presents the information collected for this regional overview on a series of data sheets.

While compiling this overview it became obvious that there is a lack of comprehensive and on-going data collection for all wastewater parameters. Very few utilities monitor wastewater influence and / or effluence. Neither is receiving bodies of water (rivers, streams, groundwater or seawater) monitored for quality. Thus there is little hard data available for use in this overview.

The general lack of water sector monitoring and data collection is a major problem in the Region.

 

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