Caqalai is a tiny remote island in the Lomaiviti group of Fiji. Although we are a long way from the main island of Fiji, we are able to see the impact of human life on marine life and coral reef health. Our solutions to these impacts are to empower our neighboring villages with the knowledge of environmental best practice, do our part in our community by removing as much waste as possible and providing the locals with the tools to do so, even when we’re not around to help.
Within our base here at GVI Caqalai many of our daily activities are centered around the reduction of plastic pollution and waste around our island and on our neighboring island of Moturiki. We lessen our pollution impacts by completing weekly dives against debris, snorkels against debris, and beach cleans. We also recently orchestrated an event called ‘Relay for Recycling’ on Moturiki at the primary school. We are now raising funds to build recycling points on Moturiki island.
Thus far, we have had a very busy year! In total this year we have completed 53 dives and snorkels against debris and collected 40.8 Kilograms of trash on those dives. These dives are completed twice a week; they consist of a 3-5 person team of divers that work together to spot different forms of debris on the reef. Through these dives we hope to make a substantial impact on the cleanliness of our surrounding reef. We have also collected 75.5 kilograms of rubbish on 29 beach cleans! These beach cleans give us an idea of forms of waste that predominantly end up in the ocean and not in the landfill. Apart from the overflow of plastic bottles, we have been finding lots of batteries, flip flops, and takeaway containers on our beach cleans, as well as stranger large items such as fridge doors!
We hope that by completing weekly beach cleans we can lessen the amount of rubbish that ends up on our reefs and in the bellies of our beloved sea creatures, and also become more informed about future waste management solutions.
On the 17th of May, Endangered Species Day, the primary school students of Moturiki completed a relay for recycling whilst walking the length of Moturiki and dodging the plastic waste that can be found in our oceans every day. During this event we launched our first fundraiser of the year! We spent the day teaching the students of Moturiki about the dangers that waste pollution inflicts on the sea.
We highlighted the estimated degradation rates of different materials that they use in their everyday lives to help them understand their impact on the environment. We also held information sessions where we focused on six specific endangered species. At these sessions we made sure to highlight what sort of issues these species face on a daily basis and what that means for their status in Fiji. Between the endangered species stations the students completed challenging relays containing different representations of obstacles under the sea!
Currently, there is no recycling infrastructure on Moturiki; with your help, we can build one! Last year, our GVI Caqalai team collected over 1000kg of rubbish between the ten villages of Moturiki. Due to its proximity to the sea, Moturiki is directly affected by the overflow of waste that floods into the ocean, and having access to responsible waste disposal will be the key to managing the abundance of waste found on their shores. Our intent is to build and help to manage two recycling points on Moturiki, with the goal of reducing the amount of waste making its way into the ocean. Help us in achieving our fundraising goal and contribute to the construction of the first two recycling points on Moturiki.
Including Gift Aid, the total amount raised towards the two recycling points on Moturiki this quarter is £705. We are closing in on our target of £1000, so any help achieving our goal this quarter would be really valuable. The following link will allow you to make donations to further our progress: https://www.globalgiving.org/projects/small-island-recycling-and-waste-management-project/reports/
We hope that we had a positive impact on the youth of Moturiki when they invited us to spend the day with them for Endangered Species Day. It took many days to prepare for this event and all of our volunteers were eager to partake in this day of fun and knowledge! Our volunteers came together to create these information sessions and pollution challenges. This day was such an awesome event to be a part of. We mustn’t forget that knowledge is power, and there is no better part to start than with our youth.
We would like to continue this momentum by starting our next project in Moturiki and providing this island population with the tools for waste management that they need. These two recycling points will offer the people of Moturiki the power to rid their community of waste in an environmentally responsible fashion.
As a team here at GVI Caqalai our goals follow the guidelines of the United Nations Development Programme and Sustainable Development goals. This quarter we have heavily focused on Goal #12: Responsible consumption and production. This goal aims to substantially reduce waste generation and production by year 2030. We can do this by recycling and reusing or repurposing our waste. In addition to beach cleans, dives against debris, building recycling points, we also work toward this goal by collecting our crisp wrappers to be folded and made into purses by the local women at our community project hub!
In summary, we hope that our continuous work in responsible waste management has a ripple effect on the rest of Fiji. Although we are such a small island, we can in fact make a difference! Through building recycling points, weekly beach cleans, and dives against debris we can lessen the amount of waste that spreads to the rest of the ocean from our corner of the earth. We can also increase awareness of the worlds waste problem by continuing to do waste management workshops in our neighboring islands and communities.
Thank you again to all of our continuous supporters, donors and fundraisers! We could not do the work that we do without you. Vinaka Vaka Levu!
Fiji Caqalai Recycling