WHILE children around the country celebrated Fiji Day with family and friends on picnics or at home lazing around enjoying the day off from school, 20 children from schools in the Sigatoka area involved with the 3R initiative, participated in daring resort teams taking part in the annual bilibili race competition, to be green.
Organisers of the clean schools program (The Green Guardians), i.e Sigatoka Town Council, in collaboration with JICA, Shangri-La's Marine Education Centre, OISCA , The SSDNP (National Trust Of Fiji) , co-ordinated the challenge ‘Dare To Be Green: Keep Sigatoka Clean'.
The aim for the day was to create a sense of civic pride, and awareness of what litter is, with the destruction and damage it brings.
Together with the Green Guardians as leading roles, students identified different types of rubbish and possible ways of reusing, recycling and reducing waste. Using the annual bilibili race festival as the benchmark to create awareness, students were reminded of how important Sigatoka town is. The pride of having the first and only sand dunes in the region, a strong rugby team, the coral coast with its resorts and hotels, the Kula eco-park and of course the horse as its representation of a very proud province.
As part of the days activities, students were part of the bilibili race with competitors from the resorts along the Coral Coast.
These students and teachers, who are also environmental officers from six primary schools in the Sigatoka area, laid the challenge of keeping Sigatoka clean by simply doing litter patrols during the hype of the bilibili race festivities.
With the help of facilitators from the clean schools program, students were given presentations of rubbish on the Coral Coast, marine conservation with awareness of the importance of the sand dunes — Fiji's first national park.
Students hand print pledges to keep Sigatoka clean showed the commitment of the students and their schools to the initiative of the be green campaign.
Activities of mural paintings, face painting and recycle art was all part of the days challenge. Students got to do rock painting and witness first hand local artist Warrick Malo's creations from simple materials as plastic bottles. To top things off for the day, these students were given the task of judging the different resort stalls in how clean and eco-savy they were, with the winning resort/stall presented with a certificate of recognition. Participating teachers and students were given certificates also in recognition of being part of the go green, keep Sigatoka clean campaign.
Jason Tutani, park manager (SSDNP) also member of the Green Guardians, says such programs involving children, was a first for the annual bilibili race, and they hope to have it an annual program where the pride of keeping Sigatoka clean and healthy starts at a very young age.
Being part of such an event not only provides awareness to the environmental concerns but also some sense of responsibility in keeping Sigatoka Town clean and green.