IT is the solemn duty of every Pacific Islander to assume a personal responsibility to contribute to conservation effort.
This was the view of Prime Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama as he closed the 9th Pacific Islands Conference on Conservation and Protected Areas in Laucala Bay on Friday.
"For too long, our people have taken their beautiful surroundings and abundant natural resources for granted," the PM said.
"For too long, we have seen conservation as someone else's responsibility."
He said the vast ocean was both a food source and a refuse dump.
"We take its abundance of seafood and give back sewage and garbage.
"None of us would dump rubbish in our own backyards yet think nothing of dumping it in the ocean."
The PM said in his naval career, he was staggered and angered by the sheer volume of floating plastic bags, plastic bottles and other cast-offs that he saw in the water, sometimes many kilometres offshore.
"Someone put them there, sometimes a Pacific Islander with a big smile."
He called for an end to intense human pressure that has put to threat the ocean, shoreline and reefs.
Commodore Bainimarama said every Pacific Islander need to inculcate a new culture of personal responsibility to end this assault.
"Our arable land and fresh water streams and rivers are being polluted and their bio diversity, at times, affected by invasive species."