Tired of it: Palau seeking solutions to mounting problems with waste tires

By Pacific Island Times News Staff

An audit of Palau’s waste stream in 2019 identified 13,739 cubic meters of end-of-life tires stockpiled in the country, which included 100 meters of shredded tires, according to the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Program (SPREP).

"End-of-life tires are expensive to send overseas for environmentally sound management and there are no in-country reuse options in Palau, resulting in illegal dumping and stockpiles in the country," SPREP said.

The problem with waste tires is compounding Palau's challenge with waste management.

According to National Waste Management Strategy, Palau's 2017-2026 masterplan, the proximity of Palau to Asia and other productive yet consumerist societies has attributed to the country’s significant change in the nature of wastes and consumption pattern in the last 10 years.

"The country is now confronted with substantial waste management issues that need to be addressed in the immediate to short-term period," the report said.

"This is further exacerbated by constraints such as limited land space, resources, institutional and human capacity, as well as vulnerability to climate change, among others."

Lask week, SPREP announced that it has partnered with the Bureau of Public Works' Environmental Quality Protection Board for an innovative solution to address illegal dumping and stockpiles of old tires in Palau.

The project involves exploring ways to repurpose end-of-life tires.

The project is supported by the European Union funded PacWastePlus program which will assist stakeholders in Palau to introduce an effective and sustainable management programme for bulky waste, specifically for waste tires.

For the past year, despite the global challenges caused by the Covid 19 pandemic, dedicated staff from respective agencies from Palau have been working with the PacWastePlus program team on developing a s