A group of young people is taking the initiative to help keep Samoa clean through their awareness programmes.
Envirobassadors, a youth group run by 30 volunteers, carries out clean ups and outreach presentations in schools to highlight the problems and impacts of pollution on the environment.
The group has been implementing their programmes during school breaks for more than a year now and so far, they have carried out more than 10 clean-up campaigns.
The materials they need for their work are funded through their fundraising activities.
“I think that the young people of Samoa should be more active in our community in regards to environmental issues. After all it is our country. We all need to play a part in keeping Samoa clean,” group member Kuinileti Purcell said.
“It was sad to see the amount of plastic, it has been really shocking. It is a big problem and it revolves in people’s mindset and how they think. Its common sense, it is not only their environment, it is everyone’s environment.
“If we are always complaining about the bigger countries doing bad things, we need to start looking at ourselves and understand what we can do to be the difference,” Jorim Paul Phillips, President of Envirobassadors said.
The group’s work has got the community more involved, which Jorim said is very important because it changes people’s behaviour towards the environment.
“Everybody’s action personally does make a big difference in the environment and when one person does throw a piece of rubbish and then another does it, then it has an impact on the environment and in turn on us as we are part of the environment.
“People need to understand that there are other ways to deal with waste not just putting it on the side of the road.
“It is our Samoa, it is our environment, a limited resource just like power or water and we need to protect it,” Jorim said.
He commended the move by the Government to ban plastic bags.
“I think together as a country, community we need to find solutions to combat these issues.”
Jorim said the amount of trash hasn’t decreased since they started, but they are able to slowly change people’s mentality.
Envirobassadors is also planning on tree planting as their next project.