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Looking out for Bougainville’s Environment

Take responsibility for creating the environment you desire now and for the future.

This was one of the key messages promoted at the Lukautim Bougainville: Yumi rausim plastic event, organised by the Bougainville Women’s Federation and the ABG Bureau for the Environment. The event, held in Buka Market, was to raise awareness about the dangers of plastic to people and their environment. Market vendors were encouraged to stop selling plastic bags and people were asked to bring their own reusable bags for shopping instead.

Drawing a substantial crowd, a hands on demonstration allowed market goers to try their hand at creating a re-useable shopping bag made from an old t-shirts. Everyone had fun joining in and the activity proved how easy it is to make a bag that can be used again and again.

There were passionate speeches about the importance of reducing plastic pollution and taking responsibility for protecting the environment. Members of the Kubu Kukul Youth group, led by Frida Bassa, called on youth to be proactive in keeping their island clean.

Melvin Giobun, coordinator for the Young Women’s Leadership Program, spoke of the effects of burning plastic, warning that it takes years to decompose.

Many speakers looked to the future, warning those present that their actions have consequences. They explained that the environment would look after them only if they looked after it and plastic, in particular, presents a danger because it will remain in the environment for generations to come.

“Plastics are a foreign body, not part of the natural cycle. If you sell plastics in the market you are creating rubbish. It’s our responsibility to work as a team to raise awareness and create a healthy environment,” said Josephine Kauona, Central BWF President.

“This plastic isn’t going anywhere in your lifetime, probably not even in your children's, children’s, children’s lifetimes – plastic will last for thousands of years. To address this ongoing issue the Bougainville Women’s Federation decided to partner with the Bureau of the Environment and host the first ever Lukautim Bougainville cleanathon that focuses on banning plastic in Bougainville,” added Jordan Becks, Media Officer BWF.

The day ended with a walk around Buka town, escorted by the Town Council waste disposal trucks and Bougainville Police. The group disposed of rubbish from the streets and spread the message of the event to onlookers.

The event was made possible with support from the ABG, the BWF, International Women’s Development Agency (IWDA), the Buka Town Council and rangers, Mibank and BSP. The organisers hope this can become an annual event and encourages everyone to find ways to create a more sustainable future for Bougainville.

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