National plan for sharks
Recycled sculptures cut waste
Lagoon Day ‘dream’ rolls out from today
75% of Muri properties signed up
Environment award recipient chosen
Plants grown with ‘fish poo’
Use reusable bags!
Turtle research reinforcements
National plan for sharks
The Ministry of Marine Resources (MMR) will hold a consultation on its National Plan of Action for Sharks starting on Thursday afternoon at 1pm and continuing Friday morning at New Hope Church, Avarua, Rarotonga.
MMR secretary Ben Ponia will lead the consultation which will include a presentation on global and regional shark issues by Dr Shelley Clarke, a recognised expert in the shark fin trade and Pacific shark fisheries.
Stakeholders are invited to express their views on shark conservation and management in the form of presentations or statements, and these views will be discussed in terms of potential policy interventions by MMR.
Ponia stated ”we are hoping that a lot of the stakeholders will attend because on Friday morning, MMR will present the proposed elements of the plan and stakeholders will have further opportunity to voice their comments.“
For more information, contact Rebekah Daniel at MMR on 28721.
Recycled sculptures cut waste
This recycled sculpture by the Filipino community symbolises a mother and baby dolphin lifting Mother Earth from the ocean of waste to a healthier and cleaner place. Worn rubber tires, old newspapers, tin cans and chip packets were used to create this winning sculpture.
Friday morning saw five judges visit 11 sculptures around Rarotonga for the SLM Recycled Sculptures competition which was the last event for National Environment Week.
Groups, government departments, businesses and other organisations were invited to participate by creating sculptures of sea creatures out of waste material from their office/workplace/community to display during Environment Week.
With cash prizes up for grabs, groups put lots of effort into creating a lagoon full of sea-life, larger-than-life starfish, octopi, sharks, turtles a penguin and even a mermaid!
Groups were also given a chance to promote their green practices such as the 4Rs of waste management – Refuse, Reduce, Reuse and Recycle – in addition to energy efficiency, involvement in environment events.
”It’s great to see more and more groups becoming environment-aware and more importantly practicing best green practices,“ said Deyna Marsh of the National Environment Service (NES).
All participants will receive a cash prize but the main winners include the Bank of the Cook Islands ‘Hina and the Shark’ and Filipino ‘Filcom’ Community for the open section and the Ministry of Education’s ‘Te Toora’ (whale) won the government departments section. Other winners include Te Uki Ou School, Titikaveka College and the CI National Superannuation Fund. Westpac Bank, ANZ Bank, Tereora College and Imanuela Akatemia, which will all receive a consolation cash prize.
NES thanks the judges for their time, Tamara Suchodolsky and Teresa Framhein from Te Ipukarea Society Inc, Joan Gragg, Jessie Sword and Louisa Karika from the Sustainable Land Management (SLM) Project.
The SLM project sponsored the National Environment Week events for 2012 with the Cloth Bag Art Exhibition on Tuesday evening (the exhibition closes this Wednesday, so head to The Art Studio and have a look at the wonderful artwork) and the Recycled Sculptures competition. The SLM project also sponsored the stage questions section of the Miss Cook Islands pageant held in the middle of Environment Week last week. –Release
Ministry of Education’s Te Toora (whale) – made from unused floppy disks, ewaste, furniture and paper waste. Te Toora is transforming to adapt to her new environment.
BCI Shark – use of old BCI calendars, paper waste, recycled number plates and ewaste to create a shark in support of the Cook Islands and PICI’s proposal to declare Cook Islands waters a shark sanctuary.
A poster put together by Te Uki Ou students.
Apii Te Uki Ou’s ‘Te tai-roto o Kakera’ – from left, judges Joan, Teresa, Tamara, Deyna (NES), Jessie, Vaine Makara (Te Uki Ou teacher) and Louisa (SLM).
Lagoon Day ‘dream’ rolls out from today
Representatives from Lagoon Day’s major sponsors Lorette Siulepa for CITC, Donye Numa for MOIP, Dorothy Solomona for MMR along with coordinator June Hosking to symbolise their commitment by contributing the critical pieces needed to complete Lagoon Day’s inspirational poster. Absent due to Environment Week commitments is NES.
Today begins a 31-day countdown to Lagoon Day – an environmental exhibition to raise public awareness through hands on, and where possible, on site education.
Lagoon Day is in its fifth year and the event, on July 12 and 13, is themed ‘Dream the possible dream’.
Event coodinator June Hosking says that the theme was met with a resounding positive response by the Lagoon Day crew.
For Te Ipukarea Society’s Jacqui Evans, the theme hit the nail on the head. ”We need to dream if we want to achieve our vision.“
Hosking agrees that dreamers are needed. ”We need dreamers with all sorts of ideas, even those that seem whacky,“ she says.
”All actions begin in the mind. We can lecture and legislate all we like, but until people catch a vision for a better future and believe that every individual is an agent for change, we go nowhere.
Our environment isn’t so far gone that it can’t be restored.“
Hosking says that the right action is the key in many areas.
”Perhaps if one sees what can be – it’ll encourage some to pick up that bit of rubbish or stop that run of sewage that is spoiling the picture.“
Lagoon Day is in its fifth year of advocating for improved lagoon health, believing that the degradation can be slowed down, one day stopped, and maybe future generations even get to see a new breath of life.
”Some attend Lagoon Days believing they can make a difference, asking what they can do and are ready to take it in and act.,“ says Hosking.
There are also some neat success stories from families and individuals who have made the mind shift and taken action to lessen their negative impact.
Each day leading up to Lagoon Day, a different practical suggestion will be highlighted for you to action.
Local initiatives, old and new, that are making a difference will also be highlighted.
The Lagoon Day strategy has been enabled through the assistance of Lagoon Day Cook Islands’ four major sponsors –National Environment Service, Ministry of Marine Resources, Ministry of Infrastructure and Planning, and Cook Islands Trading Corporation.
Contact June Hosking and the Lagoon Day crew if you have a story to add and check Lagoon Day’s Facebook page, the work of Watsan’s Jaime Short.
Posters and banners are going up to inspire you to dare to dream of a better tomorrow and ask what you can do to make it happen.
75% of Muri properties signed up
Work being done on a new sanitation system at a Muri property.
After a month-long information and advertising campaign, 75 percent of residential property owners in the Muri-Avana area have now signed-up to receive an upgraded sanitation system provided under the waste management initiative.
Those signing up to the waste management initiative (WMI programme) are required to make a $1000 contribution towards the cost of the upgrade.
But payment options, including installments and grants, have been developed to ensure all property owners can participate. The minister leading the project, infrastructure minister Teariki Heather, said he was pleased with the response so far.
”The sign-ups have shown us that the Muri-Avana community is right behind this project. Once property owners have registered and made their payments then the work can start – that’s what everyone in the community is waiting for.“
Heather points out that poorly built or maintained sanitation systems are damaging the lagoon, but there has been a commitment made to fix the problem.
Work is now underway on upgrades for 20 properties requiring primary improved treatment systems. The remaining 200 systems, many of which need secondary treatment systems due to their proximity to the lagoon, will begin later in June.
The WATSAN unit of the Ministry of Infrastructure and Planning is managing the project and has calculated that the average cost of the upgrades is $10,000 per property. This means that property owners in the scheme can save at least 90 percent of the cost of bringing their homes in line with public health regulations.
Once property owners have registered and payment options are agreed, the WATSAN unit will coordinate scheduling and scope of the physical works at each property.
Acting infrastructure secretary Donye Numa said that everything is done in discussion with the property owner.
”Before work is started at a property the WATSAN team sit down with the owner and work out what is the best design for their land and also put together an agreement which outlines everyone’s responsibilities.“
”The team aims to minimise the disruption the works cause and in most cases the job can be complete in less than two days,“ said Numa.
Property owners in the Muri-Avana area who have not yet signed-up their property for an upgrade should make contact as soon as possible with the WATSAN unit at the Muri meeting house or call 22-648.
The $3 million WMI programme is a partnership between the government of the Cook Islands and the joint New Zealand-Australia aid programme.
The reclamation in progress on the seaward side of Punanga Nui market.
The $1.8 million Punanga Nui reclamation project is underway at a great pace, with more dredged harbour material being added to make new land every day – and night.
Ports Authority general manager Bim Tou said contractors McConnell Dowell (Mac Dow) are working day and night to get the work completed.
Water suppression of dust – a measure put into place after recent public outcry over saltwater on the roads – also continues throughout the night. Tou notes that truck drivers are told to notify supervisors throughout the night if any debris falls off the trucks, in order for the roads to be kept clear.
The project entails the stockpiling of material dredged from the Avatiu harbour seafloor on the northern boundary of the Punanga Nui market, as part of the $27 million harbour redevelopment project currently underway.
Currently there is a temporary sea wall, known as a bun wall, keeping the dredged material from being swept away by waves. The permanent sea wall, which will be put in place by the Ministry of Infrastructure & Planning (MOIP), is yet to be built. MOIP acting secretary Donye Numa did not respond at time of print as to when work on the permanent sea wall is due to be started.
The dredged material will form a land platform over a two-hectare area, effectively extending the market area north and eastward. The reclaimed land will run parallel to the centre-line of the Avatiu stream – from the northern boundary of the marketplace to the Catholic drainage outlet.
The market was originally built on reclaimed land, dredged from the seabed during the construction of the international seaport at Avatiu in 1975. Funded by New Zealand and Australia government aid, the project was completed in 1986, also as part of a larger infrastructure project.
Rarotonga Marine life (Photo by The Dive Centre)
Water outlet in Arorangi - reducing the amount of water used can
reduce the amount of polluted water that makes it's way into the
Lagoon Day is in its 5th year, each year being a little different and, we trust, developing into an event that is noticeable over the long term for its positive impact on the Cook Islands.
As we count down to Lagoon Day 2012 we begin with answers to often asked questions, ‘what’, ‘why’ and ‘who’ is Lagoon Day.
What is Lagoon Day?
Since Lagoon Day’s inception in 2008 NGOs, private and public sectors have been coming together annually for a common purpose – to raise public awareness through hands on, and where possible, on site education in matters impacting the health of our lagoons.
Throughout the year each sector works in various areas on problem solving for the sake of our future, and Lagoon Day is their opportunity to interact with many people in a short time via presentations and displays.
Lagoon Day encourages everyone to come along and be inspired, but a special place is given to educating tomorrow’s leaders. Schools from Rarotonga and, for the first time this year, from the Southern Group islands, make the most of this opportunity with over 1000 students taking the three hour tour. This year educational resources have been prepared in an effort to support teachers to maximise this experience with relevant in-class studies before and/or after the event.
Why do we have Lagoon Day?
From time to time, over the past few decades warnings of degrading lagoon health have sounded.
As summarised by Gerald McCormack – Cook Islands Natural Heritage Trust: In the first conservation report on the Cook Islands Neville Gare (1975) wrote: ”Because the marine resources of the Cook Islands are so important both for subsistence and as a potential export earner, a marine survey is of utmost importance.“ His major impression of the marine environment of Rarotonga and Aitutaki was ”the scarceness of living resources in the lagoons“ and he noted that the ”lagoon desert“ of Rarotonga was worse than that of Aitutaki.
Dahl (1980b) examined Rarotonga and Aitutaki in 1976 and wrote: ”The general impression of the inshore reefs and lagoon of Rarotonga is one of impoverishment and degradation, with little regeneration capacity capable of supporting the fishing demands of the local population.“ Without detailed analysis he noted numerous things which would degrade the reef system. These included the Crown-of-Thorns (Taramea, Acanthaster planci) plague of 1972-3 [this was an immense event from Avatiu westward down to the Rarotongan, but not in Muri Lagoon]; the deliberate poisoning of fish with vegetable poisons (Barringtonia and Derris) and pesticides; accidental poisoning of reef life by agricultural chemicals washing down streams; agricultural practices which increase freshwater runoff and soil erosion; and seepage from septic tanks and sewage systems. –Gerald McCormack 1995
Agricultural practices have improved so that it is less likely that pesticides enter the reef system. Even though agricultural practices now cause less soil runoff, the careless use of heavy machinery on a variety of inland projects has added major amounts of volcanic soil to the reef system. Finally, while the use of poisons on fish has ceased, the use of small-mesh gill-nets has proliferated.
Until the late 1980s/early 1990s living from the lagoon was very much a part of Rarotongan culture. At that time incidences of fish poisoning began to occur and spread, until eventually most people stopped partaking of lagoon fish in Rarotonga. Consequently an important part of Rarotongan culture has been impacted as younger generations have not been exposed to the knowledge, skills and tastes of their lagoon. And again, in the mid 1990s, Crown of Thorns outbreaks occurred on the outer reef slope.
In June 2004 a crisis developed that threatened the health and economy of Rarotonga as pungent fumes blew in from the lagoon causing sometimes severe respiratory, skin and other problems. Some Takitumu schools had to send students home on bad days whilst a number were forced to close for months until things improved. During this time some migration occurred from Takitumu to other parts of the island with some, fearing for the health of their families, choosing to move overseas.
This became known as the Takitumu Irritant Syndrome and saw the development of a community initiative to problem solve, raise public awareness and ensure such a disaster didn’t occur again.
With the help of NZaid and AusAid, the Takitumu Vaka Council, Ministry of Marine Resources, National Environment Service, and Cook Islands Marine Resources Infrastructure Strengthening (CIMRIS) began developing the Takitumu Lagoon Management Plan.
After two years of water quality monitoring and many meetings, the first Lagoon Day was held, the first water quality report card published, and strategies presented. With the advent of the first Lagoon Day, the team developed as awareness grew that the issues being addressed were the responsibility of every sector of our society.
NZaid and AusAid funding concluded and CIMRIS, which comprised a team of specialists from NZ and Australia, handed over the reigns to local partners. What began as a Takitumu initiative became Rarotonga wide and now in 2012 has grown to include the Southern Group islands, with groups of students being flown in by the Ministry of Education to take part in Lagoon Day before going on to their Careers experience week.
Who are the Lagoon Day crew?
The Lagoon Day crew are all from local government departments or non-government businesses, interest groups or individuals. All are active in some way in implementing initiatives that are aimed at improving the health of our lagoons for the benefit and welfare of all of us and our future.
Although each group has their own focus, Lagoon Day offers a forum where they can come together co-operatively, so an attendee can ‘connect the dots’ of how each focus complements the other to successfully achieve the goal - from the mountains to the sea.
More detailed information will be on display at Lagoon Day, but following are just a few initiatives being carried out by Lagoon Day crew.
Ministry of Health - Te Marae Ora (MoH)
• Working with MOIP on initiatives aimed at improving the treatment of wastewater.
• Tutaka programme.
Ministry of Infrastructure and Planning (MOIP)
• Drivers of solid waste, water and sanitation programmes across the Cook Islands.
• Manages the rubbish collection, sorting, and recycling.
• Transforming the Waste Facility into a Resource Recovery Centre.
Ministry of Marine Resources (MMR)
• Development of Takitumu Lagoon Management Plan - a cooperative pathway into the future to be adopted by all those who live, work or visit the Takitumu area.
• Carrying out intensive water quality monitoring of stream and lagoon sites on Rarotonga since 2004.
• Currently monitoring water quality on the outer islands of Aitutaki and Manihiki, and in the future plan to extend the programme throughout the Cook Islands.
National Environment Service - Tu’anga Taporoporo (NES)
• Works across a broad range of areas carrying out education awareness, policy development, promoting sustainable practises, development and enforcement of environmental guidelines and laws, community based initiatives and the like.
• Recent initiatives include promoting the preservation of wetlands, biodiversity, climate change awareness, management of persistent organic pollutants, promotion of biological agriculture and the 2012 Year of Action against Waste.
Sustainable Land Management (SLM)
Project –NES and MOIP
• Aims to build capacity and promote sustainable land practises including mitigating degradation of soils from erosion, chemical overdosing, poor land use choices and the long term consequences of these actions.
• Recent activities include carrying out land degradation assessments in pilot areas, developing local capacity for mapping using GIS, and funding the Kia Orana Soil School in partnership with the Titikaveka Growers Association and Organic Matters Foundation.
Taau Taku Tita –MOIP, MoH, NES
• This is a joint waste education campaign for the Cook Islands to support the implementation of the National Waste Strategy and informing and promoting community participation ‘walking the talk’ in the Cook Islands government and private sector waste management initiatives.
• The WATSAN programme was established in response to concerns over increasing development on Rarotonga and Aitutaki’s coastlines and the effect of inadequately treated wastewater on the health of the coastal lagoon and coral reef. The WATSAN programme is making good progress in upgrading sanitation systems in Muri village.
• Made a stand to only import shopping bags that are biodegradable.
• Created a recycle centre behind Foodland and employs a full time staff member to compress cardboard and plastic to be removed from the island.
• Assisted with E-waste removal off island.
• Invested in solar panels for four outlets, which will reduce the amount of diesel imported.
• Made a stand not to import laundry powder that contains phosphates which harm the lagoon.
• Introducing reusable nappies.
• Sponsoring Lagoon Day educational materials.
Cook Islands News
Cook Islands News is committed to being greener.
• Over the last three years, the daily newspaper has changed its production processes and print technology in order to get rid of ”nasties“ and to produce a more environment-friendly newspaper.
• Replaced chemical platemaking with Computer-To-Plate equipment. This has enabled removal of all liquid waste from the factory, replacing film and aluminium plates with plastic plates, and converting to vegetable-based inks.
• The unbleached newsprint we use is entirely compostable, and leftover/returns are 100% recycled in a variety of ways.
• To match this, the new CINews.PRINT division now stocks 100% recycled paper for high quality brochures and promotional literature.
kiaTAERIA - Towards Awareness of Environmental Responsibility and Individual Action
• Promote by living example, education and public awareness, sustainable technologies including informing of the advantages, viability and need for waterless composting toilets (particularly in wetlands, coastal, and low water supply areas).
• Co-ordinate Lagoon Day and encourage and support learning through concept, development and design of educational materials.
• Campaign for a reduction in the use and careless disposal of disposable nappies, and actively promoting reusable nappies.
Koka Lagoon Cruises
• Contributes a percentage of its sales to lagoon conservation via the The Rarotonga Lagoon Conservation Trust. The Trust is embarking on a long-term reef restoration and revitalisation project within the Tikioki Ra’ui. The goal of the project is to bring the reef back to 60% live coral coverage and encourage the re-establishment of local fish and clam populations. Through this Koka is helping to ensure that Rarotonga is able to enjoy the many benefits of a healthy lagoon reef well into the future.
• Pacific Resort, along with Turama House, is setting the benchmark for Green Globe EC3 in the Cook Islands.
• Pacific Resort tours students and interested groups through their complex, showing such ‘green’ initiatives as their sewage treatment plant, grey water recycling, and recycling of cooking oil into veggie fuel for some service trucks.
• Cook Islands Turtle Project (CITP) began in 2009 and works with communities to update the status of sea turtles in the Cook Islands.
• Cook Islands Shark Sanctuary Project (CISS) hopes to stop shark finning by banning all commercial take of shark. Through a recent partnership with the Pew Environment Trust, PICI is able to travel to the outer islands to engage as many locals as possible in the advocacy for shark protection.
• Aitutaki Lagoon Monitoring Project (ALMP) uses eco-volunteers to collect long-term multi-species monitoring data on the Aitutaki Lagoon; the data will be used to better understand and manage the lagoon.
• Recently partnered with the Ministry of Education for the Conservation Education Project (CEP), to develop four classroom ready, relevant, conservation-based moduleseach with a field component.
• Promotes solutions to our problems via their phosphate free cleaning products and biodegradable Dis-bin service for a safe and hygienic way to dispose of female sanitary products.
Te Ipukarea Society (TIS)
• Promotes environmental awareness, implements demonstration projects to promote sustainable development and cooperate with similar local and international organisations.
• Implemented the 1997 Year of the Coral Reef campaign and has undertaken a lagoon water quality programme, testing for Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs).
• Raised awareness about concerns around Seabed Mining and made a submission to the Parliamentary Select Committee regarding the Seabed Minerals Bill (now the Seabed Minerals Act 2009).
• Campaigned to raise awareness on the issues with fishing, ”To Tatou Moana ei Angai Rai Ia Tatou“ or ”Our ocean of fish is for the sustenance & nourishment of our people“, has raised awareness of the issues surrounding purse seine fishing.
• Represented on the WatSan Steering Committee and the Cook Islands Marine Park Steering Committee.
The Dive Centre
• Involved with marine education through Lagoon exhibitions, created a ”reef etiquette“, support Lagoon Day each year by providing prizes and ideas, regularly give marine talks at schools, organise annual clean up dives, and provide marine education to visiting overseas students.
• Campaigning to stop people feeding lagoon fish with bread or walking on corals.
Titikaveka Grower’s Association
Encourage non-toxic farming practice through:
• Cook Islands first Soil School (began 2011);
• Assists growers transition from conventional to sustainable farming practice;
• Assists Ministry of Agriculture by trialing and adapting, for local conditions, various sustainable farming methods;
• Developing a long term strategy for a sustainable cycle;
• Setting up green waste recycling (compost centre now fully operational).
• Partners with WATSAN to give a captivating presentation on the safe disposal of septic waste, ensuring everyone goes away more knowledgeable and aware that no one escapes the responsibility of keeping our ground waters clean.
Healthy coral in Rarotonga. (Photo by The Dive Centre)
The average Cook Islands baby goes through 3,800 disposable nappies,
adding pollution and clogging up our environment.
High levels of phosphate in our waterways can have significant ecological
consequences as cyanobacteria thrive and multiply rapidly depriving
other organisms of resources such as oxygen.
Healthy marine life (Photo by The Dive Centre)
Work at the Arorangi landfill. What happens when the landfill is full?
Septage ponds next to the landfill in Arorangi.
Environment award recipient chosen
From left, Myra Moeka’a-Patai, then-environment minister Ngamau Munokoa, Tania Temata and prime minister Jim Marurai in Copenhagen in 2009.
To coincide with Environment Week, Tania Temata has been chosen as recipient of Te Ipukarea Society’s Environment Award.
”This award is presented to either an individual or organisation or business who is a champion of environmental issues and Tania is very deserving of this award,“ says Ian Karika, president of the society.
In citing the reasons for receiving this award, the award reads ”for carrying out your various roles at the National Environment Service with excellence for over 20 years, through untiring service and love for the people of the Cook Islands and the Pacific, thereby making a difference to the wellbeing of the planet.“
”Most of us at TIS have worked with Tania as environment colleagues and we have always been impressed with her dedication, intelligence and determination, whether at home or on the world stage, pushing for positive measures to protect the Cook Islands environment,“ commented Jacqui Evans, programme manager for TIS.
Plants grown with ‘fish poo’
Fish ponds at the aquafarm at the Titikaveka Growers Association premises are being converted into a new aquaponics venture.
An aquafarm venture is currently being built in Titikaveka ready to open in time for the Pacific Islands Forum meeting in August.
Aquaponics, which is new to the Cook Islands, combines aquaculture and hydroponics. For a simpler explanation, in the words of Pacific Islands Trade & Invest’s media and stakeholder relationships advisor Dev Nadkarni, ”it is using fish poo to grow plants.“
Pacific Islands Trade & Invest, an Auckland-based agency that facilitates exports, investment and tourism promotion within the region, has implemented the scheme in Rarotonga.
The fish are grown in tanks and then the water is run through hydroponic trays. Lettuce will be the first focus, but anything can be grown. The fish can also be eaten.
The venture was set up to deal with issues of food security.
With the cost of food rising and fewer people wanting to work in agriculture, aquaponics is a savvy small entrepreneur project. After the initial set-up process, all that is required is 20 minutes of work per day.
The project has been spearheaded by Dr Wilson Lennard, who completed his PhD in applied biology with a thesis on commercial aquaponic systems. Over 15 years he has developed a simple, compact technique that anyone can follow.
The project is housed in a 200 square metre shed at the Titikaveka Growers Association premises, where tilapia fish will be fed high-protein nutrients. It is going to be spray-free with no artificial chemicals involved. The plants will be grown in trays set on tables, so no bending is needed. There are even some lower beds developed so children can look after them. ”We want to start people young,“ said Nadkarni.
The project demonstrates three different systems. One is a two-bed system, designed for families to run in their backyard. Another is a four-bed system for community use, and the third is a 12-bed commercial system used to stock grocery stores.
There is anecdotal evidence plants grow faster under aquaponic systems. ”It takes four weeks to grow a lettuce,“ said Nadkarni, ”compared to five to six weeks in the ground.“
Aquaponics only uses 15 percent of the land that would be required for traditional ground planting, and can run on solar energy. At a time where only 4 percent of the earth is arable land and populations are exploding, aquaponics may play an important role in future agriculture.
There are successful business models around the world, including in Melbourne, Florida, and Haiti where they have been a success for small entrepreneurs recovering after the 2010 earthquake. Supermarket chains in the USA are currently looking at implementing aquaponic systems on their rooftops, in order to get fresh produce without the carbon footprint.
According to Nadkarni there are few drawbacks. Growers must follow a few simple steps each day for the plants to thrive.
”It’s all about the balance,“ he said.
The aquaponics project will be completed by late August, when 16 Pacific Island leaders will view and take notes in case they want to start up similar projects in their countries.
The project had funding from the NZaid programme and the International Development Group, under New Zealand’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade. The Pacific Business Mentors Programme will be involved in the running of the venture.
Use reusable bags!
Brothers TJ (4) and Olive (7) show off the Sustainable Land Management-donated reusable bags their grandmother Mama Isaia Willie is selling for $1 apiece at her Tupapa shop Ngatipa. /
In the spirit of National Environment Week, the National Environment Service (NES) is encouraging people to tote their groceries in reusable bags.
Two shop owners have been obliging and on board with NES’ efforts to phase out plastic bags for months now, and in return have received 100 reusable bags apiece to sell to customers.
As part of NES’ ‘Say Yes to Reusable Bags’ campaign, the Sustainable Land Management purchased 200 reusable bags, which were equally parcelled between Ngatipa Store in Tupapa and Rite Price Store in Arorangi.
”Both have been very helpful with our past campaigns on this so we felt they would do well in taking in a step further,“ said NES’ Deyna Marsh.
”We have supplied them with 100 reusable bags so far to give out to their customers and will be asking those regulars to return with their bags, etc. As with other bags like these, they may sell them for a $1 with the money going back for their efforts.“
This week, choose reusable bags and say no to plastic.
Turtle research reinforcements
Nerissa with a failed green turtle egg on Palmerston atoll.
Phil and Nerissa taking time out at Tom’s Motu off Palmerston atoll. ALL PHOTOS TINA WEIER
Fresh off of their Palmerston sea turtle research expedition, the Cook Islands Turtle Project (CITP) – a project of Pacific Islands Conservation Initiative (PICI) – is excited to welcome two new volunteers to the team.
Phil and Nerissa Bradshaw have come on board to run sea turtle research for the southern group – and they’ve got a great head start.
The couple, who met doing turtle work and later married, landed in the country only four days before sailing off to participate in the Palmerston expedition, where they added green sea turtle (Chelonia mydas) research to their CVs.
Phil has signed on as CITP’s project scientist and programme administrator. He holds a MSc in conservation and biodiversity from Exeter University in the United Kingdom and has over a decade of marine turtle work under his belt.
He’s managed the two most important loggerhead sea turtle (Caretta caretta) nesting beaches in the Mediterranean and has worked on a total of four species of sea turtles in three different countries.
Nerissa whet her sea turtle research whistle on the beaches of Zakynthos, Greece, where she spent three years training volunteers to identify tracks, tag turtles and excavate nests. Together, they moved on to the Cape Verde Islands where they spent considerable time working with locals and protecting turtles from hunters, as well as carrying out important nesting surveys.
Having recently landed in the Cooks, the Bradshaws say they’re thrilled to join CITP.
Together with sea turtle researcher Dr Michael White, they will work hard to update the status of sea turtles in the Cook Islands. Heading north soon, Dr White will again base himself on Penrhyn, where he found an estimated 500 nests last year on a single motu. The addition of Phil and Nerissa allows Dr White to focus on the remote northern group, where he believes the majority of sea turtle nesting occurs.
Very little research on sea turtles was done in the Cooks prior to Dr White’s arrival in 2009, apart from a single survey by the Centre for Cetacean Research in 2001.
Since then, under the leadership of Dr White, CITP has confirmed green sea turtle nesting on many of islands in the Cooks, but has yet to confirm nesting of the critically endangered Hawksbill sea turtle (Eretmochelys imbricata). With two new skilled pairs of hands on board, the turtle researchers are excited to continue searching.
This week, Phil and Nerissa will be excavating nests on Mauke alongside environment officer Basilio Kaokao, who reported both turtle tracks and the sightings of two distinctively colored turtles emerging to lay eggs on Mauke’s southern shores in February of this year.