Fiji Time: 6:28 PM on Wednesday 22 October

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Outlaw the use of plastic bags

Frederica Elbourne
Wednesday, November 07, 2012

SUVA is one of the dirtiest harbours in the world, seafarer Captain Jonathan Smith said. From the Suva harbour to as far as the surrounding Beqa and Kadavu waters, styrofoam takeaway containers, plastic bottles and plastic bags are seen floating on the sea.

Captain Johnathan Smith, a diehard kusikusima (seafood lover), has travelled the world and was famed for his leadership role on the hand—crafted traditional voyaging canoe Uto ni Yalo when it sailed its historical journey across parts of the Pacific and America.

"If we want to continue to enjoy our seafood which Fiji is famous for, we need to look after the ocean so the fish, vasua (clam), yaga (seashells), cawaki (sea urchin), sici (seashells) and all that we love to feast on can grow and multiply.

"We need to practise sustainable fishing so our children and their children and the rest of our generation can enjoy it too," he said.

Capt Smith wants the use of plastic bags outlawed.

"People wonder why fish is expensive.

"It's a chain reaction. When plastic bags get washed out to sea and get tangled on coral reefs, it kills the coral and eventually the whole reef.

"When the reef dies, the small fish can't live there, because there's no food. When the small fish are not there, the bigger fish don't go there because there's no small fish for food," he said.

Subsequently, fishermen spend more money on fuel to go further out to sea to fish, Capt Smith pointed out.

"If we kept the reefs around close to shore healthy and clean and alive by not polluting it with our own waste, fishermen wouldn't have to go too far out to sea and fish would be cheaper and everyone could afford it and live a healthier lifestyle," he said.

In the ever-growing environment-conscious world, manufactures should try to reduce the amount of plastic wrappings used on products, the skipper said.





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