A new programme aimed at protecting Fiji’s marine environment has been launched.
This is part of an international environmental initiative with many marine-related businesses and recreational boating individuals participating in programmes to improve their environmental performance.
The programme focuses on a broad awareness campaign to increase the understanding of everyone involved in boating, both recreational and commercial, about the range of sources, including chemical, oil, fuel and sewerage discharges that can be a problem created by boats in Fiji waters.
The basis for the programme is the very successful New Zealand Clean Boating Programme which has been brought to Fiji through the guidance and sponsorship of the Port Denarau Marina, a major port in the West.
Nigel Skeggs, managing director of the Port Denarau Marina said: “As a major operator in the boating industry in Fiji, we believed we had a duty to assist in the preservation of the beautiful marine environment.
“We have seen the effects of the programme in New Zealand, so we are sure this will assist in building the awareness for the problem here.”
The New Zealand Government is also supporting and funding the programme.
In Fiji, local authorities already regulate discharges from industry and sewerage through the Environmental Management Act.
It is also important to recognise the impacts of other pollution sources such as agricultural runoff, inadequate septic tank systems, commercial shipping, and recreational boating, all of which significantly contribute to pollution in Fiji’s inland and coastal waterways.
The programme covers a wide range of issues such as marine pest control, waste and sewerage management, fuel issues, bilge and grey water and marine cleaning products. There are a number of useful tips and advice from experts in each area.
The aim of the Clean Boating Programme is to preserve Fiji’s pristine water environment and to address the adverse practices that are harmful and easily prevented.
Specially-developed brochures are being distributed throughout Fiji, with a concentration on those areas where boating is a significant activity.
These are available free and are the first stage in the effort to create a heightened awareness of the ways to protect the marine environment.