FAQs Returned Volunteers



First VSA/GHD volunteer goes on assignment

Published on 9th June 2013

The first VSA/GHD volunteer has left to go on a six-month assignment to help improve waste management in Luganville, the main town on the island of Espiritu Santo in Vanuatu.

Sean Tolland and co vols at March briefing

Sean Toland (in red) with his fellow volunteers (left-right) Robert Wait, Katy Buess and Tyler Rosolowski at their briefing in Wellington in March.

Sean Toland will carry out geotechnical site investigations into the suitability of a new landfill site to replace Luganville’s existing dump, which dates from World War Two and still has the remains of World War Two machinery in it.


He will also advise the Luganville Municipal Council and Sanma Provincial Council on how to close, cap and remediate the town’s current dump once a new site is established.


An estimated 7500 tonnes of waste is taken to the Luganville dump each year, but there are no measures in place to make sure it is disposed of properly. Organic waste is left to decompose, and solid wastes such as

car bodies, metal, glass and plastic are left unattended.


The dump’s location near the town’s airport also means that bird strike is becoming an increasing problem.


AJ Gill at the Luganville dump

VSA CEO Gill Greer visited the Luganville dump in April this year.


Sean, who works for GHD as a senior geo-environmental scientist, joins fellow VSA volunteer and waste management specialist Mary O’Reilly, who has helped the two councils develop a new waste management plan for Luganville. At present the town has only one rubbish truck to service a population of about 12,000, and few recycling facilities.


One of the first measures being introduced to help reduce waste in the region is a new composting scheme starting at the Luganville market this month.



VSA has now signed partnership agreements with 13 New Zealand businesses and organisation. Sean Toland is one of several VSA partnership volunteers currently on –  or about to go on – assignment in the wider Pacific. Read more about the partnerships development programme.


No one has commented on this page yet.

Post your comment

Donate to VSA

It costs money to send volunteers overseas and every dollar you donate to VSA goes towards programmes that really do work.

Donate now!

Become a volunteer

Register with VSA to find out about new vacancies. Or if you are already registered, login to update your details.

Volunteer now!