A tribute to the late founder of mangrove research centre

National, Normal

THE United States secretary of state Hillary Clinton has paid tribute to a Papua New Guinean who has committed his life to the protection and preservation of mangroves.
During a visit to the Port Moresby Technical College to take part in a mangrove planting ceremony after her arrival in Port Moresby yesterday afternoon, Clinton heaped praise on late Thomas Maniwavie, who passed away earlier this year.
“Before I continue, I want to recognise someone who, sadly, is not here with us today.
“This centre – and this country – experienced a great loss earlier this year when Thomas Maniwavie passed away,” the former US first lady said.
“His knowledge of mangroves and his passion for protecting them inspired many people, including the US ambassador, who provided an initial grant to support this research centre where Thomas’ work lives on.
“I want to thank Dr Augustine Mungkaje for taking on the role of acting director, and for giving me a tour of the excellent work taking place here,” Clinton said.
“Thank you also to Benny Allan, the Minister for Conservation and Environment, for joining us today.
“We are here both to celebrate and to protect the future of Papua New Guinea’s mangrove forests.
“These forests are just one slice of the extraordinary biodiversity that makes Papua New Guinea a place unlike any other – the largest tropical area in the Pacific, home to the greatest marine biodiversity on the planet, thousands of kilometres of coral reefs and hundreds of animal species, including dozens that have been discovered only recently,” she said.
“The people of Papua New Guinea are rightly proud of the beauty and richness of their homeland, and I am glad to have this opportunity to experience some of it for myself.”
Clinton said mangroves were multi-purpose tools that prevented tidal erosion and protect the coast from storms. 
“Their roots are an ecosystem unto themselves, home to many sea creatures. And, they generate oxygen and remove carbon from the atmosphere – serving, as some have said, as the ‘lungs of the earth’.
“Because they play several roles, their destruction has broad and dangerous consequences – not only for Papua New Guinea but for the planet.”