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  • HEALTHY CITIES - HEALTHY ISLANDS PROGRAMME

    The WHO programme '"Healthy Cities - Healthy Islands" for the Western Pacific Region has been developed in response to the need of Member States to integrate efforts of various stakeholders in improving the health of people living in urban areas and islands. It is implemented following the concepts and approach outlined in "New horizons in health", a WHO initiative for the Western Pacific Region which was adopted by the WHO Western Pacific Regional Committee in 1994. The objectives are:

    (l) to minimize health hazards in urban areaslislands through the integration of health and environmental protection measures in the physical and economic planning process;

    (2) to enhance the quality of the physical and social environment supportive of health in urban and island settings;

    (3) to increase public awareness towards healthier behaviour, lifestyle and habits;

    (4) to improve the provision of health services through developing appropriate health care systems in urban areas and islands; and

    (5) to upgrade country capabilities and develop policies to improve health in urban areas and islands through better intersectoral coordination and public participation.

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    This document was prepared by the WHO Western Pacific Regional Environmental Health Centre (EH£), based on the reports and photographs submitted to WHO by Dr C.B. Saw, Associate Director, Environmental Technology Consultant Country Manager, Motherwell Bridge (Malaysia) and Mr L. Belz, Belz Engineering and Construction, Nuku'alofa, Tonga. Dr Saw served as a WHO consultant, and Mr Belz as a WHO contractor in the Tonga Government-WHO collaborative project on the development of a demonstration landfill in Nuku'alofa, Tonga. Photographs taken by Dr I. Welch, the WHO Country Liaison Officer in Tonga, were also used.

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    The documents in the Healthv Cities - Healthy Islands Series are published informally by the WHO Western Pacific Regional Environmental Health Centre. The findings, interpretations and conclusions are entirely those of the authors.

    Printed and distributed by:

    World Health Organization Western Pacific Regional Environmental Health Centre (EHC) P.O. Box 12550 50782 Kuala Lumpur Malaysia

    Tel: 60-3-9480311 Fax: 60-3-9482349 .... rmlWPy.(J LIBH~

    ··'.·.~P~

  • Open dump before the project October 1995

    Controlled landfill after the project December 1996

    (i)

  • I.

    2.

    3.

    4.

    5.

    CONTENTS

    BACKGROUND ............................................. .

    SITUA nON OF THE SITE BEFORE THE PROJECT. . .................... 2

    2.1 2.2 2.3

    The Project Site ..... Pre-Project Operation. ... ........... . Pre-Project Problems ..

    UPGRADING TO A CONTROLLED LANDFILL.

    .............................. 2 .................................................. 5

    .5

    . . 7

    3.1 Site Survey ............................................... .......................... . . 7 3.2 Site Preparation ........................................................................................................ 7 3.3 Upgrading of On-Site Access Road .................................................................... 7 3.4 Gate House.. ................. .. . . . ................................................. 8 3.5 Water Supply ......................................................................................................... 8 3.6 First Trench Excavation ......................................................................................... 8 3.7 Cos1... ....................................................................................................................... 8

    OPERATION OF A CONTROLLED LANDFILL . ....................................................... 9

    4. I Trench Excavation.. . ................ . ...................... 9 4.2 Filling of the Trench with Solid Waste........... ........... . ..................................... 9 4.3 Keeping the Face of the Trench Clean ......... . ............................. 9 4.4 Levelling of the Piles over the Trench ............ . ..................................... 13 4.5 Final Levelling, Importing and Spreading of Cover Material ........................................ 13 4.6 Cost.............................................................. . .......................................... 13

    LESSONS LEARNED ................... . . .......................................... 14

    5.1 5.2 5.3

    Success.................................... .................. . ................................ 14 Success but with Some Problems.... . ................................................ 14 Problems Encountered and Suggestions for solutions.......... . ................................ 15

    ANNEXES.

    ANNEX I - PHOTOGRAPHS OF THE PROJECT ............................ 17

    ANNEX 2 - ALTERNATIVE DESIGN ............... . ............................. 24

  • 1. BACKGROUND

    Like any other capital town in Pacific island countries, Nuku'alofa, Tonga has been facing problems associated with the disposal of solid waste, particularly in the last decade or so. The Ministry of Health, Tonga is the agency responsible for the management of solid waste in Nuku' alofa, and has been trying to improve the situation. At the request of the Ministry, WHO has provided technical support, mostly through its Western Pacific Regional Environmental Health Centre (EHC), to upgrade the solid waste management system in Nuku'alofa. A staff .-nember of EHC visited Nuku'alofa in February 1990 and June 1992\ to provide advisory services on solid waste management. EHC also provided two missions of consultants in October 19952 to further advise on the improvement of solid waste management in Nuku'alofa.

    One of the two WHO missions in October 1995 focused on the assessment of landfill practices and recommendations for future action. The background section of the consultant report states:

    "The existing open dump at Tukutonga has been the subject of much discussion in recent years, in view of the environmental nuisance it causes to nearby residents (e.g. flies and odours), as well as concern over its diminishing capacity. A new site for waste disposal at Sopu off Puke was proposed. The mission report by H. Ogawa in lune 1992 outlined the development and operational plans for this new landfill site.

    However, the proposed disposal site at Sopu has recently been earmarked for other developments and negotiations are in progress to obtain a site in the same area. As no alternative site is immediately available for the disposal of solid waste in Nuku'alofa, the existing site still needs to be used. Upgrading of the site facilities will be required in order to achieve an acceptable level oflandfill operation and, with better landfill management, it is hoped that the site could be extended for several more years."

    With this background, the consultant assessed the situation and concluded that the site could be upgraded to a controlled landfill. He then outlined procedures to upgrade the site and operate a controlled landfill in his report.

    Based on the consultant report, WHO proposed to the Ministry of Health to upgrade the existing dump site and operate a controlled landfill over a period of one year as a demonstration project. The Ministry of Health agreed to the proposal, and with the concurrence of the Ministry, WHO engaged a local engineering contractor to undertake the project in collaboration with the Ministry.

    The project was implemented from January to December 1996 in two phases:

    Phase I: Upgrading to a controlled landfill, January-March 1996; and

    Phase 2: Operation of a controlled landfill, April-December 1996.

    1 Ogawa, H. Advisory services on improvement of solid waste management in Nuku'alofa, Tonga, 19-31 January 1990. WHO(EHC)

    Ogawa, H. Development and management of solid waste landfill sites and operation of collection systems, etc., Nukualofa, Tonga, 12-27 June 1992. WHO(EHC)

    2 Saw, C.B. Advice on improvement of landfill management and upgrading an open dump site to a controlled landfill, Nuku'alofa, Tonga, 13-21 October 1995. WHO(EHC)

    Sakurai, K. and Tan Hoo. Assessment of municipal solid waste management, Nuku'alofa, Tonga, 22-25 October 1995. WHO(EHC)

  • 2. SITUATION OF THE SITE BEFORE THE PROJECT

    The WHO consultant who assessed the situation of the landfill site in October 1995 noted the following observations:

    The solid waste disposal site in Tukutonga is operated as an open dump site without any cover.

    There are no records of how much and what waste has been disposed of at the site. This is of particular concern in view of the fact that this site is located in a prime land area. and almost certainly, the site will eventually be developed in the future.

    Private haulers are free to drive in to dispose of their waste at any time and anywhere on the site.

    The site worker is not properly instructed to operate and manage a landfill, resulting in unsupervised, indiscriminate dumping at the site.

    Dogs and pigs are allowed to feed on the heaps of refuse.

    The site is festering wi