Asst. Minister Warns On Trash Apathy


The Pacific is home not only to the largest ocean in the world but also to the largest accumulation of ocean plastic in the world known as the Great Pacific garbage patch.

This, however, is not the story Fijians wish to be told to their future generations.

In light of this, hundreds turned out in numbers at ‘My Suva Park’ foreshore recently for a vigorous cleanup campaign organised in partnership with the European Union (EU) and the Ministry of Youth and Sports to mark ‘Europe Day’.

The line Assistant Minister Alipate Nagata said the clean-up was also their part in mitigating against climate change and the effect of rubbish on our coastlines.

“Our ocean ecosystem cannot protect us unless it is healthy and resilient,” Asst. Minister Nagata explained. “Harmful impacts like trash in the ocean, pollution, climate change, and habitat destruction are taking its toll.”

He added that trash doesn’t’ fall from the sky, it falls from people’s hands. “Our coastline today can clearly tell us the amount of trash there is in our ocean and these are the very trash that we carelessly throw,” Asst. Minister Nagata said.

“Trash in the ocean kills more than one million seabirds and 100,000 marine mammals and turtles each year through ingestion and entanglement.”

Asst. Minister Nagata added that some of the debris these marine species were entangled in or had ingested include plastic bags, fishing line, fishing nets, six-pack holders, string from a balloon or kite, glass bottles and cans.

“We cannot emphasise enough the importance of managing our refuse or trash and the onus is on each and every one of us to see to the upkeep of not only our ocean but our environment as a whole.”

Also present at the event to participate in the clean-up activity was the Head of the European Union (EU)