Degree Name

Master of Science (Hons.)


School of Geosciences


The Kingdom of Tonga faces critical problems with regards to managing waste. Increasing generation of solid waste in the household accompanying the changes in the Tongan lifestyle with a dependence on imported tinned and packaged goods, far exceeds the island Kingdom's ability and capability for safe disposal. Littering in the household and throughout the Kingdom is a persistent problem despite various clean-up and anti-litter promotional campaigns and programs run by government organizations, non-government organizations and other community groups.

The persistent problems of litter and mismanaging solid waste in the household need to addressed. This study was undertaken to investigate why Tongans persistently litter and mismanage waste. The hypothesis for this study is littering and waste management problems are related to the perceptions and attitudes of the Tongan people. To investigate this hypothesis, the entire household waste management operations (waste generation, handling, waste storage, waste transportation and collection, final waste disposal, and minimization) were examined.

A survey was compiled and distributed to 220 persons during January to March 2001. Data from the survey were collated and examined statistically using the program StatView. The responses to most questions were consistent for all categories of respondents irrespective respondent background; the responses generally were not influenced by gender, age, location, educational level, household size, income or occupation. The study showed that the respondents' waste management practices for the entire waste management operations are related to their perceptions and attitudes and it appears all Tongans think similarly waste management.

To improve waste management in Tonga, the following are recommended: i. The Tongan government needs to consider formulating waste management laws and policies to guide the waste management practices and activities in the Kingdom. ii. Respective Tongan government departments need to improve waste management services and facilities. iii. The Tongan government and businesses have to consider waste minimization incentives. iv. The Government and non-government organizations, and community groups should consider awareness, education and training programs on wise waste management.



Unless otherwise indicated, the views expressed in this thesis are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the University of Wollongong.