27 May 2019, Apia, Samoa – Demonstrating “One in Spirit”, over 1,000 volunteers came together to clean-up the rivers of Apia on 25 May before the Samoa Independence Celebrations.
The initiative saw 18,624 kilos of rubbish removed from the Fuluasou, Gasegase, Loimata o Apaula River (Mulivai), and Vaisigano Rivers. This included an estimated 3,713 sanitary items such as tissues and nappies, an estimated 7,738 plastic bottles, and eventually a wrecked car.
“These clean-ups, and the embrace of a beautiful and plastic free Samoa, is creating a legacy Samoans can be proud of,” said Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MNRE) of Samoa, Chief Executive Officer Ulu Crawley.
MNRE, with support from the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP), the Samoa Recycling & Waste Management Association (SRWMA) conducted the event. The volunteers demonstrated a strong commitment to keeping Samoa beautiful and plastic free by gathering at Malaefatu Park at 6:30 a.m. Teams were assembled and assigned a river. Then volunteers, armed with old flour sacks and gloves, grappled with rubbish for hours. The work of the volunteers has made Apia, and Samoa, a better place.
After volunteers collected the rubbish, it was transported to Malaefatu Park. The Waste Management staff and Conservation Officers from MNRE guided the volunteers to sort and catalogue a sample of the waste. With technical support from the Japanese Technical Cooperation Project for Promotion Initiative on Solid Waste Management (J-PRISM2) and the SPREP Waste team the waste audit went well and the active participation of everyone present made the day’s events participatory and educational not only for the young ones but all those who turned up .
Community spirit was also clear with the support of local businesses who helped to make the clean-up possible - Frankie’s Supermarket, Coffee Bean, Lynn’s Supermarket, Myna's Mini Mart and Bakery, Samoa Breweries Ltd, and Kangen Water provided assistance which helped make the event a success. “Samoa is taking great strides to help make the island nation a clean and healthy one for her people,” said Mr Anthony Talouli, the Marine Pollution Advisor of SPREP. “Showing leadership through banning single-use plastic bags at the start of this year, Samoa continues to lead by example having committed to Greening the Samoa 2019 Pacific Games this year. The commitment of people to this initial clean-up is further demonstration of Samoa leading by example.”
Saturday’s event served as the first of three clean-ups scheduled by MNRE in line with the “Beautiful Samoa, keep it clean and plastic free” campaign as part of the Greening of the Samoa 2019 Pacific Games. The next will take place on 8 June as part of the World Ocean Day commemorations and then once more again on 29 before the start of the Samoa 2019 Pacific Games.
The campaign aims to reduce the plastics that are polluting our water ways, oceans, and villages and is done in partnership through the Greening of the Games Committee which consists of members from MNRE, SPREP, the Pacific Games Office, the Ministry of Women Community and Social Development, the Samoa Tourism Authority, the Japanese Technical Cooperation Project for Promotion Initiative on Solid Waste Management (J-PRISM2), and the Samoa Recycling & Waste Management Association.
For more information and to register your Ministry, Organisation, Company, Volunteers, for a future clean-up, please contact either:
Ms Tuiolo Schuster at [email protected]; or call 67200
Ms Deborah Buckley, Peace Corps Response Volunteer at SPREP, [email protected]
Mr Anthony Talouli, Pollution Adviser, Waste Management & Pollution Control, SPREP [email protected]