THE culture of the throwaway package was described by President Ratu Epeli Nailatikau as one of the worst facets of Western consumerism that the Pacific people had embraced.
And this was viewed as a major contributor to the current state of the region's rivers, towns and cities.
"Our villages, towns and cities are strewn with litter, our beaches with plastic bottles and plastic bags, and other non-biodegradable containers of every kind," Ratu Epeli said last week at the opening of the 9th Pacific Islands Conference on Nature Conservation and Protected Areas in Suva.
"We can blame the manufacturers for packaging their products in these containers in the first place. But the responsibility for disposing of them properly is solely our own, all of us."
He said if conservation efforts within the region were to be substantial, it had to include a personal decision made by people of the Pacific to dispose off their garbage properly.
"We need to inculcate a new culture in the Pacific, one of personal commitment to conservation and sustainable development and the daily observance of it in all our lives.
"At the community level, do not dispense with your sewage in the sea, band together and get a portable sewage treatment plant.
"If trees need to be cut down, more trees need to be planted."