Sustainability isn’t only about responsible new economic growth. It’s also about taking care of the natural assets we already have.
That is why the Australia-Pacific Technical College, funded by the Australian Government, teaches the topic “Sustainable Practice” at its campus in Namaka, Fiji. APTC graduate Shabreen Abadan of Nadi studied “Sustainable Practice” during her course as a Certificate III student in Children’s Services, and as a result she’s been inspired to put what she learnt into practice and organise a major clean-up campaign in a place where it’s really needed.
The clean-up took place on Saturday 11 May 2013 in the form of a rubbish collection walk. It started from Jetpoint in the Queens Road at Martintar. Shabreen led current APTC students and staff, families and friends down Wailoaloa Beach Road, picking up rubbish along the way. Then they carried out a concerted clean-up on the beach itself, a place of great natural beauty badly disfigured by rubbish.
Shabreen is realistic about the extent of the task. In Fiji, she said, “there is a lot rubbish lying around. It’s an eyesore and it shows a lack of respect for the environment and for our future generations.”
It is imperative, Shabreen believes, to set a good example to younger people in respecting the environment. In her course at the APTC, she said, “we learned that the best way to promote a sustainable environment in which our children can live is to role-model good sustainable practice ourselves.
“As long as people discard rubbish in a careless way our children will not learn to be careful with rubbish and our Fiji will miss the chance to become truly beautiful,” she adds.
Shabreen is aware that “future generations” will be the ones to suffer if the environment is abused. “When people don’t re-use, recycle or reduce rubbish they are acting inconsiderately of the children in our country,” she said. Current APTC students in the School of Hospitality and Community Services, which embraces Children’s Services, supported the walk by advertising the clean-up campaign throughout the Nadi and Lautoka region. Said Anthony Bailey, Director of the School, “I am impressed by the students’ initiative and participation in the project.”
The APTC also helped by supplying gloves and bags – indispensable for a rubbish clean-up – and, no less important, refreshments for the hard-working volunteers.
Let the last word be with Shabreen. “Our walk was to show that we are serious about teaching our community that rubbish should be disposed of properly - we want people to stop throwing their rubbish away.”