By ISAAC LIRI
HAVING to do something worthwhile during a big day like the World Environment Day not only makes you feel good to be part of planet earth. You also learn valuable stuff about the environment itself.
The beach front of the Motuan village of Pari was packed with youths from several organisations who all turned up to commemorate the day on Tuesday.
Partners involved in the activity included the University of Papua New Guinea, Institute of Business Studies, NCDC Youth Desk, PNG Modeling Agency and High Performance Sport PNG. Most of the participants were youths who got to clean the beach and plant mangroves.
Two key points shared amongst the participants during the day on how planting mangroves conserve the environment were that mangroves can protect the shoreline from being eaten away by the sea and also absorb carbon, keeping the air clean.
A participant from UPNG, final year Literature student Aileen Tape described the day as a significant one with the highlight being mangrove planting.
“We came here to commemorate the World Environment Day and it’s very educational for us because most of us are not studying Environmental Science and it’s more like an eye opener for us,” Tape said.
“It’s a great initiative, for us to do something outside of our academic schedules.
“My favourite part of the day was planting mangroves because for most of us it seemed like a new thing to us.
“Some of us usually plant other plants apart from mangroves, planting mangroves showed us how we can conserve and preserve marine life in the longer term so I think it’s good to do something good for the environment,” she added.
PNG Modelling Agency director Jemaema Koike who was also part of the mini-celebrations spoke about educating youths on conserving and preserving the environment which was key for environmental sustainability in the future.
Koike said PNG Modelling Agency promoted environmental preservation through the Miss Scuba initiative which started last year.
Koike said the Miss Scuba initiative was not only about fashion but incorporated knowledge of environmental preservation as the contest did educational campaigns as well.
Last year’s Miss Scuba PNG Agnelly Solien also actively participated in the day’s events.
Koike said she was content to see active participation from youths.
“I think that youth participation is vital when it comes to preserving the environment.
“We were all down at the Pari village coast line to plant mangroves and do a plastic bag clean-up in line with the global WED theme for this year – Ban Plastic Bags.
“We not only wanted to talk about WED but we also wanted to focus on youth development and involvement.
“We believe that the youths are the ones that are going to carry the message into the next generation.
“We are going to die and move on but the youth will live on into the future and the message about the importance of planting mangroves has to be imbedded so they can drop it off with the next generation when they move on,” she said.
Facts about planting mangroves
Mangroves protect coastlines from sea level rise and coastal erosion.
Mangroves trap and capture sedimentation from land-based man made activities such a commercial or subsistence agriculture and in the process keep this sedimentation away from coral reef systems which results in healthy coral reefs.
Mangroves are breeding and nursery grounds for fish and other marine animals and also they are habitats for many kinds of animal and plant life such as birds and orchids.
Mangroves also capture carbon from the air and store it in their trees and also in the mud on which they grow.