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Fiji Time: 11:04 PM on Thursday 24 April

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Students join fight for reefs

Thursday, December 21, 2006

More than 400 students and teachers joined hands with dive resorts in October to celebrate the value and beauty of Taveuni's coral reefs.

Local dive resorts organised the event which was tagged, "Taveuni's Coral Reefs: Our Future", to raise awareness amongst youth regarding the importance of the island's coral reefs and ways to help protect them.

"The day was a blast," said Eunice Morisio, of Jewel Bubble Divers. "And for such a great cause. Taveuni has some of the world's most incredible coral reefs, and Rainbow Reef is now considered one of the top dive sites of the world. It's up to all of us to make sure we help protect our coral reef treasures so our children and grandchildren can continue to benefit as we have."

Sadly, Taveuni's reefs face a number of threats from destructive fishing, trampling, trash, anchor and boat damage, fertiliser and sediment runoff, sewage, and over-harvesting of turtles and sea cucumbers. A primary theme of the day was reducing Taveuni's rubbish problem.

"Rubbish has become a big problem worldwide, including Fiji," said Gary Cross, of Garden Island Resort.

"Every time it rains, pollution and trash washes out to sea from the land, storm drains, and rivers. Plastics remain in the ocean for decades, and often turtles, birds, and other marine life mistake it for food, or become entangled in it and die.

"We all need to be more conscious of what we throw on the ground and in the sea." Fortunately, students also learned that it is easy to do something about the rubbish problem.

According to Amelia, a student from Holy Cross College, "we are all responsible for the rubbish that we see. Every time we see rubbish on the ground, we should pick it up and dispose of it properly. We should separate our rubbish, and say no to excess packaging at the supermarket".