The Aitutaki Reef-Keepers team’s message is that reducing the use of pesticides and cleaning detergents will help keep lagoon ecosystems healthy.
A key part of the message is that sources of human and animal sewage need to be better managed. This can be done by moving animals away from streams, and having septic systems checked - a free service offered by the Health ministry.
The Reef-Keepers’ appearance at a kiosk in Amuri on Monday follows a series of radio and television advertisements released to the public last week.
The project, led by school principal Tracy Spiers with support from marine biologist Charles Waters, attracted many interested residents and has been unanimously endorsed by the Aitutaki Island Council. Misepa Isamaela, the Aitutaki visitor coordinator, and the Aitutaki Conservation Trust (ACT), have been key supporters of the project.
After visiting the Reef-Keepers kiosk, mayor Tekura Bishop said the students’ approach was very good.
“We need to begin thinking that while economic well-being is important, it’s not the only thing we should value.”
Another visitor to the kiosk remarked on the irony that the young were teaching the adults.
“But in the long run” she added, “we’re all in this together, so let’s do it!”
Aitutaki Reef-Keepers is encouraging all Cook Islanders to consider that what we do on land impacts marine ecosystems.
As one visitor to the kiosk remarked: “We all know that a healthy environment leads to a better quality of life. Reducing our use of chemicals by a pinch here and a pinch there is really a very small sacrifice for what we gain in return.”