TEN volunteers at WWF-South Pacific are determined that the age old practices of composting must not pass but thrive in Fiji.
Making 'green gold or black gold' is both a practical and ecologically friendly approach to managing waste, proven time and again.
It's great for the garden, the planet, family finances and the nation's economy.
For the garden, the nutrient rich decayed organic material is believed to do a better job than synthetic fertilisers for a combination of reasons.
It releases nutrients much slower into the soil, less fertilisers run-off to pollute waterways, helps sandy soil retain water and builds good root systems to name but a few. This makes for a dirt cheap, healthy, thriving garden. In recycling organic materials back into the soil, efficiently managed household waste minimises the work and costs borne by municipal councils in garbage collection and ultimately government expenses in managing waste.
"Our message is simple - we must individually learn to manage our waste, not all household waste is rubbish-though it may look like that.
"It costs very little to start up!
"The initial cost of a compost bin is about $80, or you can make your own from useful carpentry scrap at home," volunteer Akanisi Lomaloma said.
Spotting a compost bin lying about the WWF South Pacific office, the group of young men and women decided to roll out their composting initiative, beginning at the office.
They set up the two compost bins, in a small corner of the WWF- South Pacific Suva office, on a Saturday morning after a 10 kilometres walk to raise funds for group activities. We enjoyed it immensely! Working together as a team in setting up the bin and teamwork is an added value to enjoy. This is something families, communities, friends, church groups or just about any group of people can work on together," Lomaloma said.
"With the rising cost of living these days affording fertiliser for the garden can be irksome to think about so many will practically do without and lose out on the abundance the land can provide for the family meal and income if they apply fertiliser.
"And it's right there in our face — organic waste that we often just place in the garbage bag, sealed away as rubbish waiting for the town's garbage collector to come by and pick up.
"It's not rubbish, its black gold, a treasure that can transform our plain backyard into a gardener's delight.
From the WWF-South Pacific office, volunteers have mapped out a plan for the installation of compost bins at senior citizens' homes and orphanages.
And to demonstrate the usefulness of composting, volunteers will simultaneously set up box farms to complement compost bins — so compost manure is directly transferred to vegetable gardens.
"When the garden is in bloom then we realise the wonders of good compost," she said.
"It is an inexpensive greening initiative, a perfect solution for waste management."
The compost initiative is one of several outlined in the Volunteers 2013 financial year work plan.
The Volunteers Program first rolled out at WWF South Pacific in 2011.
nTheresa Fox is a communications officer for WWF South Pacific Programme.