Caption: The US Ambassador to Fiji, Mrs. Judith Cefkin planting mangroves with Dr. Perera and the students of the Fiji National University at Saweni Beach. Photos: SUPPLIED.
In celebrating the International Day for the Conservation of Mangroves- 26th of July 2017.
Mangroves are a vital component of the coastal environment as they provide protection for the young marine life and acts as a wind barrier during cyclones. Unfortunately most of the mangrove cover gets destroyed by human beings, as developmental activities reach the beachfront.
Saweni beach is one such example, where destruction to the mangroves has occurred and today mangrove replanting has become a great necessity.
From 2015 the Green Scouts Movement has been planting mangrove seedlings in Saweni beach together with the United States Embassy in Fiji, the ANZ bank, the Saru AOG church, the Fiji Scouts Movement, the Commissioner’s Officer of the West, together with the students of Fiji National University. By now almost 4500 mangrove seedlings have been planted. It is wonderful to see the young plants growing.
A few people who visit the Saweni beach for a picnic or a swim without realizing the value of the mangroves planted by many caring people disturb the young seedlings, and as a result many are uprooted.
Haphazard disposal of garbage was another grave concern at the Saweni beach in 2015 as most of the plastic bags, cups and plates found their way into the mangrove cover. In order to minimize the disturbance to the beach front and the young mangrove plants by the garbage dumped by the visitors on the beach, many clean up campaigns have were conducted and a place to collect garbage was created.
This reduced to a large extent the plastic waste that was washed into the sea. Still there are few persons who regularly bring their garbage from home to be dump at the Saweni beach. From what has been observed it is mostly baby sanitary pads which are dumped in large numbers.
Many of such bags are destroyed by the dogs and sanitary pads can be seen spread around the garbage bins. It is sad to notice that the efforts of a large number of persons and organizations to protect and enhance the mangrove belt of Saweni are destroyed by a few uncaring people.
26th of July mark the international Day for the conservation of mangroves, let us protect the mangrove seedlings which has been planted at the Saweni beach by hundreds of generous people from Ambassadors, Bank officers, church goers, Governmental officials to young school children.
Dr. (Mrs.) Ajantha Perera,
Founder, Green Scouts Movement of Fiji
PhD –university of Munich- Germany