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Waste as an environmental issue in the OECS - results of a KAP study

Waste as an environmental issue in the OECS - results of a KAP study

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Published by Peter A Murray
By Peter A. Murray and Tecla Fontenard. Presented at the 4th Caribbean Environmental Forum, St. Georges, Grenada, June 2008
By Peter A. Murray and Tecla Fontenard. Presented at the 4th Caribbean Environmental Forum, St. Georges, Grenada, June 2008

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Published by: Peter A Murray on Aug 07, 2008
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02/18/2011

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Waste Management
 
Waste as an Environmental issue in the OECS: results of a KAP study
  byPeter A. MurrayOECS Environment and Sustainable Development UnitMorne FortunéP.O. Box 1383CastriesSaint LuciaandTecla FontenardOECS Environment and Sustainable Development UnitMorne FortunéP.O. Box 1383CastriesSaint Lucia
 Abstract
 An environmental knowledge, attitudes and practice (KAP) survey was carried out in theParticipating Member States of the OECS Protected Areas and Associated Livelihoods project
.
 A total of 1,479 interviews were conducted: 1,334 “household” and 145 “departmental”respondents. Data collection was facilitated by structured questionnaires and administered bytrained local interviewers with country-level supervision. Different questionnaires were used for each of the two categories of respondents. Household sampling was nationally representative,using enumeration districts stratified by parish. Respondents were full household residents aged15 to 74 years who also satisfied other eligibility criteria. Department/agency representativeswere selected via convenience methods targeting appropriate entities.Few individuals claimed to be “very” familiar with environmental issues (18.0%), the majorityinstead regarding themselves as “somewhat familiar”. Individual respondents’ perceived threatlevels pertaining to the environmental events showed improper garbage disposal as being one of those seen as having the most impact. Most respondents saw individuals having a role inenvironmental maintenance but, at the same time, saw this overall as being government’sresponsibility. In all countries most respondents accepted that responsibility for environmental problems remains mainly with residents of the country.Specifically with regard to improper garbage disposal, most respondents accepted it as a “high”threat to the environment; this was more so in Dominica and least in St. Vincent and theGrenadines. Across the countries, the perception of improper garbage disposal as a high threatwas most noticeable among the 35-44 age group, yet lowest among respondents that had no morethan skills training or vocational education. The largest group of persons who saw improper garbage disposal as being a major environmental threat saw themselves as being very familiar with environmental issues. Similarly, persons who considered themselves very concerned about
 
2environmental issues shared this view. Recycling was stated as being practiced most by personswho claimed to be familiar with environmental issues, females and persons with at leastsecondary education. No interactions among the afore-cited categories were considered.The findings suggested that direct exposure environmental issues seemed to increase perceivedimpact; the use of recycling as a waste management tool follows a similar trend. These resultsare worthy of consideration mindful of the commitment by OECS Member States, pursuant tothe Revised St. Georges Declaration of Principles for Environmental Sustainability in the OECS(the Revised SGD) and within the context of the draft New treaty of the OECS.
 Key words
 environmental threats; solid waste disposal; knowledge, attitude and practice;
 Background
 The OECS region is characterized by a rich biological diversity, which in combination with itsisolation from other areas, has resulted in relatively high rates of national and regionalendemism. In addition to exhibiting differing degrees of endemism, the islands of the region also provide habitat and nesting sites for non-endemic migratory species. A 2003 survey conducted by Conservation International identified the Caribbean as the fifth ranking “hot spot” and one of the highest priorities in any global strategy for biodiversity conservation and sustainablemanagement.Recognizing the importance of the sustainable management of its natural resources and rich biodiversity, the Governments of the OECS Member States have made significant commitmentsto protecting their countries' resources. Some of these include their status as signatories tointernational conventions, the formulation and adoption of policy statements, legal andinstitutional instruments, recent environmental programs, and financial support of conservationactivities through budget allocations. At the sub-regional level, the OECS Member States in theyear 2000 issued and subsequently endorsed the St. George's Declaration of Principles for Environmental Sustainability in the OECS
1
(the SGD), which includes a commitment to theconservation of biological diversity and the protection of areas of outstanding scientific, cultural,spiritual, ecological, scenic and aesthetic significance. This commitment is also consistent withthe OECS Development Charter 
2
.
 The Knowledge, Attitude and Practice Survey – objectives and methodology
 The OECS Secretariat, in 2007, conducted a survey on environmental awareness to assess people’s knowledge of, potential attitude to, and practices, in relation to the environment
3
. ThisKnowledge-Attitude-Practice (KAP) Survey was seen as part of a broader commitment toadvance and promote the cause of environmental management based on sound research andthrough the delivery of a comprehensive programme of training and education on theenvironment
4
. With the practical data captured, the OECS Secretariat expects to be better able to
1
OECS, 2001
2
OECS, 2004
3
OECS, 2007b.
4
The private firm of Cultural Marketing Communication (Caribbean) Ltd. was contracted to manage the survey andanalyse the data gathered
 
3develop the targeted environmental awareness strategies and management programmes, whichwill ultimately lead to the desired “increase in public support for (and awareness of) biodiversityconservation and sustainable management of Protected Areas…” Results of the survey are toserve, not only as a resource for future public awareness program, but also to guide thedevelopment and improvement of environmental management activities and for informing policydevelopment.The overall goal of the survey was to assess public knowledge on environmental issues andconcerns and to seek to determine the extent to which environmental agencies and organizations place emphasis on communicating with the public on the environment. Specifically, the surveywas designed to help the OECS Secretariat gain knowledge of:
Ø
People’s opinions on environmental issues
Ø
People’s attitudes in respect of the environment
Ø
Satisfaction levels on information received on the environment
Ø
Preferred information/media sourcesThe survey was initially designed to allow for broad-based participation based on a cluster sampling plan that would capture an estimated two hundred and fifty (250) respondents per Member State, this was subsequently changed to 225 due to cost considerations. The surveyinstrument included a series of questions in the form of (a) multiple choice, and (b) open endedwith answer choice grids provided where applicable. Other considerations for the sampling planinclude:a. Wide in-country geographical distribution b. Age ranges proportionate to population age distributionc. Gender in proportions mirroring population ratiod. Broad educational distribution, where possiblee. Broad economic distribution, where possible Nationally representative household samples were selected via four (4) stages: (i) obtainingdescriptions (i.e. Enumeration Districts (EDs)) per country; (ii) identifying a single regionalsampling approach; (iii) selecting samples based on above; and (iv) preparing maps and boundaries for field use. The EDs were stratified (parish), a random start point assigned, andfurther selections made from population generated intervals, but taking into account requisitenumber of country interviews (n = 225). Final EDs were clustered (approx. three (3) each),allowing for parish spread, and proportionality-to-population-size. Target households wereselected from random start within EDs, target respondents being selected on a last birthday basis.At household level, one member was selected and screened for eligibility. Only one (1) callback was instituted, after which any failures to locate the target respondent resulted in replacement(within-household, according to next-birthday; or next household, in any event of vacant/ineligibility/refusals).A total of 1,479 interviews were conducted: 1,334 “household” and 145 “departmental”respondents. Data collection was facilitated by structured questionnaires and administered bytrained local interviewers with country-level supervision. Different questionnaires were used for 

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