Ship arrives to promote water preservation

The Race for Water vessel is in the country to raise awareness on the importance of preserving water. 

The futuristic-looking ship is powered by a solar-hydrogen-kite and belongs to the Race for Water Foundation, a not-for-profit organisation based in Switzerland that promotes water preservation, especially that of oceans. 

Eric Loizean, the Foundation’s ambassador, told Samoa Observer that they can help people save the ocean by educating them on what to do best.

“We are here because we want to share with the people that plastic is the worst problem in the world’s ocean and we want to raise awareness about the fact that there are solutions for preventing the plastics from entering the ocean and encourage the less use of plastic around the world,” he said. 

Mr. Loizean said the Foundation doesn’t necessarily collect plastics, but instead identify people from certain countries they visit who can cooperate and collect plastics from beaches, which can be used in producing energy.

To help their work in trying to reduce plastic pollution in the ocean, the Foundation uses a technology that can transform plastic waste into energy resources—either gas or electricity. 

The foundation believes the sale of the energy will allow street collectors to earn an income and it would motivate them to collect more plastics. 

Conservation International marine programme director and Samoa Voyaging Society president, Schannel van Dijken, told this newspaper how his organisation is working with the Foundation. 

“My organisation, Conservation International, we are an environmental organisation that looks at helping nature thrive because when nature thrives, human thrives. If we are choked by plastics, nature can’t thrive, humans can’t thrive. So that’s our mission.

“My other hat is with the Samoa Voyaging Society and our mission is through traditional culture—also raise awareness of our past and how were very proud Polynesian explorers and voyages that had very close strict values with our land—looking after what we had, and with the arrival of the Race for Water it aligns very much with what we are trying to do,” he said.

Conservation International will work in partnership with Race for Water to promote their mission, and assist in educating the public on the objective’s of the visiting ship and its crew.  

Leota Kosi Latu, the South Pacific Regional Environment Programme director general, welcomed the visit by the vessel and said the work of his organisation aligns with the work Samoa is carrying out. 

“They (Samoa) made a political commitment last year when Forum Leaders meeting happened here in Samoa, our own Prime Minister had spoken about the importance of this issue,” he said. 

“Next year there’s a new legislation that’s coming into force and will ban single use of plastic so we have been supporting the Government and the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment in terms of developing that mission. 

“So, it’s just good to see that there are other people that are thinking about it, just the way which the message has been carried through this interesting boat, I think it’s a good way of communicating messages about the importance of addressing plastic,” he added. 

The Race for Water Foundation will host a learning exchange this week with local schools and organisations before they leave Samoa on Friday.    

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