Press Release from the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MNRE) : Saturday 18 September 2021;
International Coastal Clean-up Day 2021
Vaiusu Mangrove Conservation Area (VMCA)
Every year, on the third Saturday in September, the International Coastal Clean-up Day (ICCD) is celebrated. This is the single largest coastal clean-up day in the world and this year 2021 mark the 35th year of the ICCD in action.
In 2019, more than 940,000 volunteers from all around the world removed over 16 million pounds of trash along 24,500 mile of beaches and waterways. Over the last 35 years, more than 50 million volunteers removed more than 280,000 tons of trash in 180 countries around the world.
Marine litter is a global, intergenerational and transboundary issue that negatively affects the environment, people and coastal economies around the world.
On Saturday 18th September 2021, Samoa joins the world to partake on this important event. The official launching of the event took place at Vaiusu to support the recently launched Vaiusu Mangrove Ecosystem management Plan 2021-2025, where MNRE CEO Ms. Frances Reupena Brown welcomed the participants. A short prayer was conducted by Deacon Paulo Mulipola of the Catholic Church at Vaiusu followed by the keynote address delivered by Honorable Leatinu’u Wayne So’oialo Fong.
Hon. Leatinu’u in his keynote stressed that “today, Samoa is participating and conveying our genuine support for this global action through our clean-up taking Vaiusu Mangrove Conservation Area as an identified site in celebrating this event”. He further acknowledged the commitment of the Vaiusu village in conserving and acknowledging the services the mangrove ecosystem provides for the wellbeing of the community; “ It has come to my attention that on the 30th March 2021, Vaiusu with the support of Government had launched your 5 year Mangrove Ecosystem Management Plan 2021 – 2025 to guide the actions to conserve this ecosystem in a sustainable manner”.
In commemorating of this international day, clean-ups were conducted at Vaiusu Mangrove area, Lelata Bridge area as part of Vaisigano River, Vaimoso Bridge as part of Gasegase River, Apia Waterfront and Solosolo Seawall. Clean up conducted at rivers is an interception to wastes dumped in, before it reached our marine biodiversity. The coastal clean-up events were also part of our collective efforts to strengthen our collaboration as a community with government and partners to ensure our coastal marine areas are ‘trash free’ for healthy living.
Hon. Leatinu’u Wayne acknowledged the continuous support of SPREP in supporting this event around the PICs including Samoa; “On behalf of the Government of Samoa, I wish to convey our sincere gratitude to our partner, SPREP through the Agence Française de Développement (AFD) and the Sustainable Waste Actions in the Pacific (SWAP) Project for the financial support that makes this event happen. I also ensure that the Government of Samoa will continue working with the Secretariat in various environment projects”.
MNRE lead the preparation for this event with SPREP-AFD-SWAP in partnership with Samoa Recycling and Waste Management Association and Laumei Canoe Club with a number of volunteers.
Hon. Leatinu’u Wayne So’oialo Fong in his closing, “I would also like to convey this message that we are caretakers of our environment and we need to have the mentality of ownership of our environment and stop dumping wastes in our mangrove and coastal sites. We are accountable for our actions and our biodiversity needed our help. We are the problem and we are the solutions to the problem”.
The event ended with the clean-up activity of the Vaiusu Mangrove Areas as part of the waste audit conducted where a total of 385.36kg volume of trash of different types were collected, weigh-in and taken to Tafaigata for proper disposal.