The first plastic-free sporting event in Fiji has received international recognition for its efforts to reduce the amount of waste generated at sports tournaments.
On November 24 to 25 last year, Fiji hosted the inaugural Raka Rugby 7’s tournament which saw 80 club teams compete, 16 of which were women’s teams. What made this tournament in Fiji stand out was that the whole two day event was plastic-free.
There are at least 51 trillion microplastic particles already in our ocean - every small action undertaken by an individual to avoid using plastic makes a big difference.
The Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) worked with Mr Dwain Qalovaki the Raka 7s Rugby Tournament Sustainability Coordinator, to promote good environmental practices amongst the players during the tournament. SPREP also called upon spectators at the Raka 7’s to pledge actions and commitments for a 'plastic free' Fiji.
As a result of the plastic-free event, the Raka 7s Tournament was awarded the ‘Innovator of the Year’ award during the Green Sports Alliance Summit, which was accepted by Mr Qalovaki on behalf of the tournament’s organising committee. The tournament was recognised for collaborating in joint efforts to advance connections between sport and waste management, and hosting the Pacific regions first plastic free event.
“Bringing together sports and waste management to create a plastic-free sporting event is a great way to educate and raise awareness in our Pacific communities of the negative impact of single use plastics, yet also demonstrating to the public the ways they can say no or avoid to plastics,” said Officer in Charge of Waste Management and Pollution Control of SPREP, Mr Anthony Talouli.
“SPREP congratulates the Raka 7s Rugby Tournament organising committee for this great initiative, and we look forward to working with them again in future tournaments.”
SPREP worked with volunteers from WWF Pacific and other booths at the Raka 7’s to promote good waste practices, in particular a highlight of the tournament was the Plastic Bag Costume consisting of 500 plastic bags, the amount of plastic bags used by the average person each year.
The organising committee of the Raka 7s Rugby Tournament issued a statement acknowledging the outreach awareness contributions at the tournament by SPREP and other environment partners in the region.
To find out more or enquire with SPREP on support for plastic-free sporting events, email [email protected]