Time is running out: Majuro is facing a garbage crisis

The government of the Marshall Islands recently endorsed a comprehensive 10-year plan to address the solid-waste management crisis in the nation’s capital of Majuro. It comes at a critical time as the sole waste-disposal site on the atoll is quickly approaching the end of its service life.

Development of the plan was done by the Majuro Atoll Waste Company (MAWC) alongside experts from Japanese Technical Cooperation Project for the Promotion of Regional Initiatives on Solid Waste Management Strategy in Pacific Island Countries (J-PRISM II). The Solid Waste Management Plan for Majuro (SWMP-M) includes an initial five-year action plan, after which time a reassessment will be conducted.

The chief concern of creating a long-term solid waste management program is the establishment of a proper final disposal site. Census data from 2011 put the population density of Majuro at 7,413 people per sq. mi. Alongside commercial enterprises, this dense population generates an estimated 38.5 tons of waste per day, according to Jiba Kabua, public works minister and chairman of MAWC.