Beach clean-up mission

The mission to get the dance crew United Usos’ to the 2019 Hip Hop International South Pacific Islands continues this Saturday with a barbeque and beach clean-up fundraiser.

The crew came second in this month’s 2018 Samoa Best Dancing Competition and have to pay their way to the Auckland leg of the competition next month.

To help, former United Usos’ dancer and present day manager at the Coffee Bean James Ah Keni involved the café in the fundraising efforts.

Together with the owner/operator Andrew Pedrana, the café will host a barbeque fundraiser on Saturday, with free sausages for anyone pitching in to clean up the beach opposite the café.

“I really want to make this a fun family thing and get people coming,” said Mr Pedrana.

“This needs to be an ongoing thing, so I thought this barbeque would be a good way to get people in the community involved.”

The event will run from 2pm every Saturday until the crew leaves for New Zealand. Mr Pedrana expects the rubbish clean up to run for two or three hours, but if there are people around, he’ll stay open.

The United Usos’ will be practising their moves, and inviting people to join them for a dance, or to chat about the state of the beach, Mr Pedrana said. All funds raised from the barbeque go towards the dance crew, and the rubbish cleaned up is a community bonus.

All going well, Saturday afternoons can become regular beach clean and barbeque days, for any group that needs a fundraising boost and wants to help keep the beach tidy before a more permanent solution to the problem is found.

“It is rubbish from street run off all the way up the hill,” Mr Pedrana explained

“That’s why you’ve got tyres, industrial crap, it all just washes down the river, deposits on this beach and around the corner in the little harbour where the fish market is,” he said.

“It all ends up on this beach before eventually being washed out in the next tide into the open ocean.”

Mr Pedrana says while the new plastic ban beginning today is a good start, until people internalise the impacts of plastic pollution the issue will not disappear.

“The biggest issue with implementing something like the plastic ban is there needs to be educational programs behind it on why they are banning plastic.

“I don’t think people quite connect that single-use plastics affect the food chain, that is going into the sea and you’re eventually eating it in your fish. No one is telling them this is the result,” he said.

Single-use plastics won’t all disappear from supermarket shelves tomorrow, but people can learn to throw away their waste responsibility in the meantime, he said.

Mr Pedrana said he hopes he can help even a few people see the real world effects of throwing rubbish out of bus windows, or dropping cans and food packages to the ground instead of properly disposing of them.

Not only that, he wants to break down any embarrassment or shame people feel when they are seen picking rubbish up.

“There is a real sense of not wanting to be seen doing that,” Mr Pedrana said.

“Hopefully, if you make it fun and interactive with fundraising, it kind of breaks that stigma of ‘we’re not rubbish pickers.’

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