Samoa 2019 has announced the move to go single-use plastic free for this year's Pacific Games ©Samoa 2019

Samoa 2019 has announced the move to go single-use plastic free for this year's Pacific Games.

Falefata Hele Ei Matatia, the chief executive of Samoa 2019, made the announcement at a press conference that included the launch of the "Greening of the Games" slogan and campaign that begins this week.

"The decision to go plastic-free during the Games is a bold one and is aligned to Government’s vision in maintaining a clean and healthy environment," he said.

"Two key areas that it will impact within the Games operations is catering and waste management."

The Greening of the Games Committee is spearheaded by co-directors Ulu Bismark Crawley, chief executive of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MNRE), and Leota Kosi Latu, director general of the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP).

"Today marks another special day, another milestone for the Organising Committee as we prepare to host the 2019 Pacific Games," Crawley said.

"The Greening of the Games is looking at implementing Green Business models across the event and most significantly make strong stands in reducing of single-use plastic and waste."

Latu added: "Our goal is to leave a legacy for other host countries to pick up the baton from Samoa. 

"We are confident through Greening of the Games there will be important lessons that we can pass on to other sporting events like this."

Apia is set to play host to the 2019 Pacific Games from July 7 to 20 ©Samoa 2019
Apia is set to play host to the 2019 Pacific Games from July 7 to 20 ©Samoa 2019

Latu continued by saying it is important for the Government and regional agencies to be working together, as well as the Organising Committee, MNRE and SPREP "realising the importance of introducing and ensuring sustainability" at the Games.

The slogan adopted by the Greening of the Games Committee is "Beautiful Samoa - keep it clean and plastic free", using the existing tagline of the Samoa Tourism Authority in an attempt to ensure a longer lifespan after the multi-sport event, which is scheduled to take place in Apia from July 7 to 20. 

The launch concluded with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between the Pacific Games Office (PGO) and Pure Pacific Water, who will be supplying Samoa 2019 with 250 ultraviolet water filtration systems that will help to reduce the use of plastics during the Games.

Key activities within the "Beautiful Samoa - keep it clean and plastic free" include a tree planting project, co-led by MNRE and the Ministry of Forestry.

It will see work carried out in schools to plant two million trees.

Other activities are clean-up days, co-led by Samoa Tourism and SPREP, and re-using bags, led by SPREP to reduce the use of plastic bags during Samoa 2019.

Furthermore, there is the Samoa 2019 Games Hydration Project - led by the PGO to service the hydration needs of athletes, officials, spectators and the Games workforce - and waste management - led by MNRE, SPREP and the PGO - with more than 200 waste collection receptacles set to be placed across all Games venues and the measurement of waste produced and recycled.

Events are due to be held in 27 sports at Samoa 2019. 

More than 5,000 athletes and officials from around the Pacific will be in attendance.