“Don’t be a tosser,” Keep Savai’i clean

By Elizabeth Ah-Hi ,

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KEEP SAVAI'I CLEAN: S.S.T.A. Vice President Leota Kuki Retzlaff and S.S.T.A. Office with Management of the Salelologa Market and M.N.R.E's Environment & Tourism Rangers.

KEEP SAVAI'I CLEAN: S.S.T.A. Vice President Leota Kuki Retzlaff and S.S.T.A. Office with Management of the Salelologa Market and M.N.R.E's Environment & Tourism Rangers.

“Don’t be a tosser.” 

That is the message from the Savai’i Samoa Tourism Association (S.S.T.A.) as they continue their campaign to keep the big island clean.

The campaign was given a boost when they were awarded a U.N.D.P. G.E.F. Small Grants programme funding to further support their advocacy efforts in raising awareness as well as mobilising volunteers to implement cleanups around the island particularly in the busy Saleloga area. 

“We’ve involved all the S.S.T.A. members, employers, families and advocates who wish to impact the Savaii communities to take pride in their clean neighbourhoods and maintain a healthy look,” said S.T.T.A’s Secretary, Nive Gidlow.

While volunteers took to the uninhabited land areas to clear away litter, S.S.T.A. member and owner of Dive Savaii, Olaf Weinhold, does his bit with his team’s efforts to clean the shores of Savaii. 

“When it comes to cleaning up in the sea, I think we are the only ones with the diving equipment to be able to do that,” said Mr. Weinhold. 

“It’s not in their heads yet to refrain from throwing things on the beach or burying things on the beach because in the next storm it will get washed into the sea and then that’s when we go in and take it out. If we see more, we go directly to those spots and clean it up, which we did a few weeks ago with K.S.C."

“We do ocean clean ups when we see it’s necessary. Usually it’s necessary after storms. The last big cleanup we did was after Cyclone Gita and we were closed until middle of March, so we took that chance to do the cleanup."

“As a member of the S.S.T.A. we support the Keep Savai’i Clean campaign and help in any way we can. In the former years we did a lot of cleaning along the roads. Now we do regular things underwater. We go out diving or snorkeling if we see rubbish we take it up, usually what we see are mainly plastic waste and nappies.”

The U.N.D.P. G.E.F small grants programme funding made it possible to expand their K.S.C. project working committee to include Samoa Shipping Corporation, Samoa Land Corporation, Alii and Faipule of Saleloga, Businesses of Salafai Association as well as government departments.

“These are potential partners who we believe have the ability and authority to address matters in an effectual manner and raising the ambition of the K.S.C. project." 

“We reached out to these leaders in business, industry and government also because we needed their hand in hand collaboration in an advisory and technical capacity to improve our environmental campaign."

“We have seen that most of the indecent waste affected sites are mostly the vacant/uninhabited parts of Savai’i and through our visible promotional materials we hope to target the ‘ignorant tossers’ and make the Keep Savaii Clean a household name.”

© Samoa Observer 2016

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