Clean up of beachfront at Marine Campus

7 June 2020

The success of a clean-up by USP PaCESD students of the beachfront at Marine Campus on World Environment Day and International Oceans Day on 6 June brought home to many of them the need to raise more awareness amongst the public of their responsibility to keep our oceans litter-free and pollution free. They hope to make this a monthly activity.

The University of the South Pacific (USP) climate change postgraduate students commemorated World Environment Day and International Oceans Day by inviting the Vice Chancellor and President of USP, Professor Pal Ahluwalia, Head of the Delegation of the European Union in the Pacific, Ambassador Sujiro Seam and the Pacific Centre for Environment and Sustainable Development (PaCESD) Deputy Director, Dr Morgan Wairiu to help them raise awareness and create an opportunity to reflect on the responsibility in the important task of preserving and enhancing our environment.

Professor Ahluwalia said the global celebration of World Environment Day and International Oceans Day provided an ideal platform for the university’s public outreach Efforts. He said The University’s researchers and institutions work hard to understand ocean environments and we (USP) will help and support to create a sustainable future and to celebrate the many forms of life that the ocean supports. USP also celebrates our leading scientists, academics, researchers and the contributions from our students in understanding our oceans,” said Prof Ahluwalia.

“Our students at USP are taking the lead as Environment and Ocean Ambassadors reaching out to national, regional and international audiences on education about marine pollution, research and general conservation of our oceans. We pride ourselves on being a leader in sustainable practices and education.”

The clean-up event was an initiative of the USP PaCESD postgraduate climate change students with support from the European Union funded Intra-ACP GCCA+ Pacific Adaptation to Climate Change and Resilience Building (PACRES) project and the university’s Pacific Centre for Environment and Sustainable Development (PaCESD) and in collaboration with 16-year-old climate justice activist, AnnMary Raduva from Fiji.

Prof Ahluwalia also acknowledged the presence of AnnMary Raduva and her young supporters and said the world needed more such youth as them to echo their collective efforts to protect the environment and oceans.AnnMary has participated as a presenter/speaker at the USP PaCESD seminars at the marine campus last December prior to COP 25 in Madrid, Spain.

This year’s Oceans Day’s theme was “Innovation for a Sustainable Ocean”. Professor Ahluwalia said he looked towards the to students, youth and the younger generation to guide and support them with partnerships, ideas and innovations to build a sustainable ocean.

“Our sustainability ambitions stretch across campus operations, teaching and research and PaCESD champions this ambition and it is very encouraging to know that the climate change postgraduate students are leading with the “walk the talk” responsibility!”

“Let us use this event to encourage and empower one another to protect our natural surroundings and be environment and oceans guardians and champions,” he said.

Professor Ahluwalia thanked the EU and PaCE-SD for supporting the PACRES project and the students for providing a great opportunity to celebrate both World Environment Day and the International Oceans Day with a coastal cleanup.

He showed his appreciation to Ambassador Seam and EU support staff, USP’s project partners from SPREP and PIFS, Dr Morgan and the USP PaCESD staff and students for organising an event under extreme restrictions and complying with the Fiji government and USP’s public gathering policies.

Fifteen garbage bags of household items, plastic garbage and aluminum cans were collected and weighed on the day by the students.

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