Team PNG plants seedlings ahead of Pacific Games

One hundred mangrove seedlings have been planted by Papua New Guinea’s Pacific Games team ahead of the Samoa 2019 XVI Pacific Games.

Team PNG athletes and officials planted the seedlings to leave a legacy and support the message of protecting the coastlines and looking after the environment.

The trees were donated by the National Forest Authority and were planted at Gabagaba village in the Central Province to mark 100 days until the Games.  The team will be competing in Samoa from 7-20 July.

The planting was part of Team PNG’s support for the United Nation’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), particularly climate action, life below water and life on land.

The SDGs are a set of aims that all countries are working together to achieve by 2030. The objective is to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all.

The team’s Chef de Mission, Emma Waiwai, said: “Team PNG fully supports the Sustainable Development Goals and we thought this is a good way to show our support while also marking the number of days left before the Games.”

Athletes Chris Amini, Lua Rikis, Milton Kisapai, Tania Mahuru and Ryan Pini are the SDG Champions in PNG, raising awareness of the SDGs.

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Samoa’s ban on plastic bags is also supported by Team PNG. The team will  reduce their use of plastic bags “primarily by using our traditional PNG ‘bilums’ to carry our shopping items,” Waiwai said.

Team PNG water bottles will not be plastic either. She added that using the bilum also showcases traditional PNG art and craft.

“Activities like this are part of what the Games are about, and that is not only to compete, but to also recognise, support and appreciate each other through environmental, cultural and social interactions with our own communities as well as that of the host country,” Waiwai said.

President of the PNG Olympic Committee, Sir John Dawanincura said PNGOC’s sport and environment programme, Love Your Coast, encourages looking after waterways and nearby environments.

PNGOC encourages people to refuse or reduce the use of plastic bags. “I commend Emma (Waiwai) and her team for the initiative and thank Gabagaba village for being part of the programme.

“This will greatly benefit their environment and their marine ecosystem as the trees grow and I encourage other coastal communities to do the same for their environments,” Sir John said.