Wairoa Waste Management Plan HIA

Wairoa District Council (WDC) recognises that waste management in the district is not perceived to be ideal by the council or the community, despite providing significant resources for waste management and litter control.

Wairoa District Council (WDC) recognises that waste management in the district is not perceived to be ideal by the council or the community, despite providing significant resources for waste management and litter control. The draft Wairoa Waste Management Activity Management Plan (the Plan) has been developed to provide options to improve waste management.

WDC was invited to engage with the Hawke’s Bay District Health Board (HBDHB) to conduct a Health Impact Assessment (HIA) on the Plan.

The Plan has a number of principal objectives. The two principal objectives around waste minimisation require a comprehensive approach in order to be achieved. The Plan requires more emphasis on minimisation within the programs/options presented. At present the main approach presented is user-pays refuse collection. The HIA recommendations suggest other options to support these principal objectives and complement current minimisation practice.

The recommendations of the HIA address the principal objectives that aim to ‘engage communities in the options and choices for their waste disposal’; and support the principal objective for ‘appropriate and environmentally sound ways to manage waste’.

The HIA focussed on rural communities, and it was clear from rural stakeholders (and the literature evidence base) that joint council-community management options are a promising approach to minimise waste, reduce fly-tipping, promote recycling and composting and for collection of domestic refuse. Stakeholders believed such approaches could work in Waikaremoana, Mahia and Rauponga. Wairoa township would maintain a Council-led service.

Stakeholders consulted in the HIA and the literature evidence base did not support disinvestment from education initiatives. Investigating different ways to educate each community in waste minimisation via education and co-management arrangements is a promising approach. The health promotion workers at the Hawke’s Bay DHB have a particular skill set on how to implement community education programmes.

The school based waste education programmes should include a whole-school approach (similar to Health-Promoting Schools), taking into consideration: curriculum, learning and teaching; school organisation, ethos & environment; and its community links, relationships and partnerships. The actions flowing from these school-based programmes should align directly with WDC’s Waste Management Plan priorities. The HBDHB Health-Promoting Schools Advisor for the district is available to work in partnership with the WDC to achieve this outcome.

Full subsidy domestic refuse collection works against the waste minimisation principal objectives of the Plan. Full user pays stimulates positive waste minimisation behaviours but leads to issues of fly-dumping by a small component of the community and resentment about ‘paying twice’. Partial subsidy is a middle ground which is suitable for Wairoa township, providing some incentive for positive behaviours, equalising the burden of expenditure across all socio-economic households in the district, and potentially reducing fly-tipping.

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