Mangrove gives village ecotourism edge

Sanitation and waste management is a top priority for Moataa village as they continue work to protect their mangroves and hope to benefit from ecotourism over the long-term period.

The important role that mangroves play in ocean and marine life ecology was highlighted at the one-day World Ocean Day programme at Moataa, which was attended by Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (M.N.R.E.) officials as well as representatives from the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (S.P.R.E.P.) and the University of Newcastle in Australia.

The World Ocean Day programme coordinator, Leanatai Moafagatau Levine Siemu, told the Samoa Observer that the event on Monday is a collaboration between the Moataa village, the University of Newcastle and the M.N.R.E. 

"The World Ocean Day is celebrated all over the world but the Moataa village is very fortunate that we are given the opportunity to celebrate the event in our own village for some special reasons," he said. 

According to Mr Siemu, their village has had several ongoing projects revolving around their mangroves, but first they have to effect a sanitation and waste management exercise to improve the health of the natural environment.

"We have to make our village aware that we have to keep the place clean. We also have an eco-tourism project which is our kayaking business. The tourists can use it to go for a ride inside our mangroves and I guarantee you that it is such a beautiful place," he added.

As part of the celebrations on Monday, the business community members who live within the vicinity of Moataa village, were invited to join the World Ocean Day celebration.

"We have invited all the business communities in our village like the Taumeasina Island Resort, Sula's bakery, the Tyre Shop, the restaurants, the laundromats to please come and join us because they really have an impact on the kind of waste we are going to collect from here today," he said.

The University of Newcastle's Pacific Node Coordinator, Dr Sascha Fuller, told the Samoa Observer that the event on Monday acknowledged the role that mangroves play in Samoa’s ecosystems. 

"Today we are celebrating the beautiful mangrove environment of the beautiful village of Moataa, mangrove is hugely important for our ecosystems so today we've run our waste management clean up program," she said. 

She said different types of rubbish were collected from their waste management program and that weighed 500 kilograms as part of the World Ocean Day programme.

"We've collected 500kg of waste here today protecting the mangrove environment.There were all types of different rubbish that we've collected from the astray areas, the riverside area and along the roadside. So we've got lots of plastic rubbish, nappies, cans, old car parts and tyres. There were lots of different types of rubbish but the plastics were mostly problematic," she added.

Students from the Moataa Primary School also participated in the day’s event including the waste collection exercise. Staff from the Embassy of Japan also particiapted in the programme.

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