TWENTY employees from St Barbara’s Simberi operations planted more than 200 mangrove shoots at Pikinur along the airport runway in New Ireland, according to St Barbara’s Simberi operations.
According to the company, the activity involved students from Simberi Primary School who took some time out of classes to plant another 100 shoots. The session was facilitated by the company’s environment team.
General manager Randy McMahon acknowledged the employees’ effort to honour St Barbara’s commitment to respect the environment through the activity while emphasising on the important roles of mangroves in the coastal ecosystem.
“Mangroves aren’t just trees; they are the nursery for the ocean, planting a mangrove is putting a nursery in the ground. It benefits the ocean and the land,” McMahon said.
Environment assistant Jacinta Peter re-enforced the general manager’s message, saying: “Mangroves are important to the marine ecosystem of Simberi, tatau and big tabar.
“They prevent land erosion and absorb storm surges during extreme weather. They also provide a rich source of food.
Peter said that mangroves were home to fish species such as barramundi, mangrove jack and mud crabs, which employees from Simberi enjoyed regularly for dinner.
Some employees intend to monitor the shoots they planted to see how well they grow in the coming months and years.
The shoots could reach up to a metre tall within two years if they got adequate nutrients.