Spearheaded by the Minister for Fisheries, Hon. Minister Semi Koroilavesau, Cynthia Rasch, General Manager of Port Denarau Marina and Honey Dew Farm with the support of the Race for Water Odyssey crew, the local community of families spent Saturday morning, despite the rain, collecting all forms of rubbish and plastic waste along the shore.
Fusion Bar and Restaurant on Denarau Road kindly brought refreshments for all the volunteers and Honey Dew Farm coordinated the collection of endless bags of rubbish for sorting and weighing.
In under two hours, two skip loads were filled and dozens of bags weighing hundreds of kilos was collected and taken away for sorting and recycling.
Hon. Minister Semi Koroilavesau, Minister for Fisheries: “We have a commitment to plant mangroves and try and improve on the public awareness of plastic on the water. We are planning to ban single use plastic by 2020.
“It is good to involve children in this beach clean. Through the Government we have been trying to generate awareness with adults and we have not had success. We put up build-boards and make announcements about the danger of plastic in the water, but it has not really had an impact.
This year we will introduce this in schools and maybe we can get an influence on the impact about plastics in our ocean. Children can talk about it and raise awareness with parents, uncles, aunties and in the community.”
Cynthia Rasch, General Manager of Point Denarau Marina: “At the Oceanlovers Program we are very passionate about the marine environment and it has been great having the Race for Water Foundation working with us. It is a great way to start the year. Getting 100 people or more coming out on a rainy day in Fiji shows an incredible response. It is a good time to reflect on where all this rubbish is coming from and it is also a good time to teach our young ones what to do about the rubbish that ends up on our shores. It is a good opportunity to get everyone together to not only clean this beach but to also clean the communities and for people to see what they can do to reduce pollution in the water.
Race for Water, with the Ambassador vessel at Point Denarau Marina, have come in to teach about plastic pollution and also what we can do to combat plastic pollution. As they say, until we learn, share and act, we learn about the problem, share that knowledge with each other we will not be able to know what we can do differently. What Race for Water has brought to our Marina is the ability to try different things in order to combat plastic pollution and conserve our marina environment.”
Camille Rollin, Race for Water Foundation Project Manager: “It was fantastic to see such a great turn out of people of all ages joining forces for the beach clean-up. Ultimately the goal is to encourage people to reduce the use of plastic and properly manage their waste in order to avoid polluting our oceans in the first place.
All forms of plastics were collected from a combination of rubbish that we can see has been left on the beach, washed down from the stream and also washed up on shore from the ocean. What you find from this beach clean-up is that the majority collected originates from on land and that a proper collection and disposal is required.
The first step could be to have more bins and proper panels warning of the dangers caused to the environment and to human health from waste pollution.