In an effort to mitigate the impacts of coastal erosion and waste disposal, the communities of Matacawalevu village in the district of Nacula, Yasawas, undertook native tree planting and waste management training today.
The activities which were facilitated by WWF-Pacific is part of the non-governmental organizations contribution to the Fiji National Climate Week Carbon Fasting objective of uniting, educating and mobilizing Fijians to reduce Fiji’s national carbon footprint through one week of carbon fasting.
WWF-Pacific’s climate change officer, Dr. Rusila Savou, said the planting initiative is one of many rehabilitation efforts; WWF-Pacific was carrying out with communities in the district of Nacula. “Around 100 hundred native tree species such as Vesi (Instia bijuga), Sikeci (Aleurites moluccanus), Dilo (Calophyllum vitiensis) and Moli (Citrus) were planted, some of which were recommended and provided by Ministry of Forestry and others donated by the organization by the Sigatoka Sand Dunes.
“These tree species should be able to establish their roots within the next three to four years. The village’s coastline is currently stable yet there are signs of erosion beginning to occur on one end of the village. Therefore we are here to create awareness as well on how important it is for these communities to maintain their environment or sustain it,” said Dr. Savou.
For the villagers of Matacawalevu, such rehabilitation efforts are a worthy investment for their community. “It is good as this not only rehabilitates our coastline but provides shade.
This is the first time to plant such tree species with the hope that our future generations do not have to relocate,” highlighted Matacawalevu village spokesman, Sakaraia Moqe.
“Planting such trees is a good advantage of helping our coastline from being washed away into the sea in the future. As a youth, we need to look after these trees for them to grow and establish their roots,” said Manasa Takala, a Matacawalevu youth.
WWF-Pacific climate change support officer, Apolosa Robaigau said the waste management training was ideal as the villager’s needed training in managing their waste.
“For carbon fasting, it is reducing the carbon footprint. With this training we are trying to build capacity and create awareness on the importance of sustainable waste management. This involves waste separation, and the adoption of the 3R concept which is Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle.
“We have also set up waste stations which allows the villagers to separate their waste into plastics, plastic bottles, tin cans, and organic material for compost,” said Robaigau.
For Matacawalevu, controlling and sustainably managing the village’s waste is vital.
“For health reasons, it is a must to have a safe and clean environment. We have a lot of youth that work at the nearby resorts however, for us here attending this training, we will share the knowledge learnt with our youth,”
“Previously, our leftover food is given to the pigs and holes are being dug within the village boundaries for the families to put their plastics, tin cans and other waste. But with the new waste management training, we will be able to reduce our carbon footprint,” highlighted Matacawalevu village headman, Viliame Amo.
The planting and waste management activities also falls under WWF-Pacific’s Pacific American Climate Fund (PACAM) climate change project of Strengthening Governance and Building Resiliency of Communities that is funded by USAID.
Dr. Savou adds that the lessons and experiences learnt is expected to inspire not only Matacawalevu village but other villages in the Yasawas to commit to reducing their carbon footprints beyond the National Climate Week.
Also, as part of its climate change week contribution, WWF-Pacific, throughout the week will be holding climate change resilient activities throughout the week in the district of Nacula.