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Green isle initiative

Luke Rawalai
Wednesday, September 03, 2014

THIS year's Tagimoucia Festival proceeds will assist the committee in its work towards eliminating the use of weedicide and pesticide on the island of Taveuni.

Organising committee member and hotel owner Robin Kelly said as a dive company, they had witnessed first-hand the effects of chemicals on the reef ecosystem.

Mrs Kelly said trying to inculcate the idea in the minds of farmers who were producing crops for commercial markets would be hard at first.

"However, we need to value our fragile ecosystem and realise that we cannot eat money," she said.

"We have two Australian couples on the island who are organic farming specialists and we are working closely with them to spread their farming method to farmers.

"Money from the carnival will assist us hold campaigns and awareness programs including the set-up of research works."

Mrs Kelly has also applauded the support from sponsors saying they have been moved by the generous amount of money and assistance that has flowed in so far.

"This year, Goundar Shipping owner George Goundar has already pledged his support, offering to transport musicians from Viti Levu to the island for free which has been a tremendous help," she said.

"The Bamboo Hotels group have also offered to house our musicians in their backpacker lodges which is a great assistance.

"Then we have those donating much needed funds and so far we have managed to collect $10,000 from kind donations."

Mrs Kelly said the money collected last year enabled them to install rubbish bins in villages around the island.

"The idea of turning Taveuni into the Pacific's first 'Green Island' has been supported by residents a lot.

"In the past, people used to stare and laugh at us when we picked rubbish but now it has changed and we have managed to set up community clean-ups every now and then.

"When we witness these sort of mentality changes, it just gives us a feeling of satisfaction."

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