The Australian High Commissioner, His Excellency, Dr Lachlan Strahan, during his visit to Western Province this week, met members of Gizo PlasticWise, an environmental advocacy group.
Dr Strahan joined the the Minister for Education and Human Resources, the Honourable Lanelle Tanangada during the visit to Gizo PlasticWise on Monday 10 May 2021.
The visit coincided with Gizo PlasticWise’s signing of a partnership agreement with the Australian Government initiative, Strongim Bisnis. Under the partnership, Strongim Bisnis aims to help Gizo PlasticWise increase the amount of plastic collected, especially from waterways and the sea in Western Province.
Strongim Bisnis will also help Gizo PlasticWise create jobs and improve the economic benefits that micro-collection groups, such as Gizo PlasticWise, receive from collecting and selling plastic to plastic buyers. To aid this activity, Strongim Bisnis is connecting plastic collection groups with Australian businesses that produce products that result in plastic waste.
Dr Strahan said “Waste and plastic in the oceans are a problem around the world. However, Western Province has already started working on the problem, having banned plastic bags at the provincial level. Gizo PlasticWise was a key advocate of this ban and demonstrates the impact that community-level organisations can have on cleaning up waterways”.
Minister Tanangada and Dr Strahan were welcomed with songs and dances about the environment by Gizo PlasticWise’s members. Gizo PlasticWise is a women-led organisation that has over 100 members. It prides itself on raising environmental awareness, collecting waste in Western Province and working with illiterate women to teach its members how to make handicrafts from waste materials it has collected.
Gizo PlasticWise is part of the Networks for Sustainable Environment, and works with 15 local Non-Government Organisations, United Nations Women and was recognised by the Australian organisation PlasticWise as the organisation’s first international branch in August 2017.
Strongim Bisnis’ partnership with Gizo PlasticWise will occur in cooperation with the CAUSE project, which is implemented by the World Bank.