By Rhealyn C. Pojas
A youth organization in Palau urges the public to participate in the campaign to conserve the environment, particularly the oceans, by refraining from using disposable plastic materials in their daily activities and resorting to sustainable and reusable alternatives instead.
Heirs to Our Oceans – Palau Mission Academy (PMA) Chapter youth leader Miel Sequiera-Holm said in an interview with Island Times during the sidelines of the Belau Tourism Association (BTA) meeting on January 21 at the Wave Restaurant in Palau Royal Resort that there are currently 21 members in their movement at the PMA chapter and another 30 at the Palau National High School chapter.
The group had been actively conducting several beach clean ups around Palau since its inception and one of these activities got the attention of Senator Rukebai K. Inabo who reintroduced the plastic bag ban bill at the Senate that was eventually signed by President Tommy Remengesau Jr. recently.
Aside from clean up drives, the group had also partnered with the Palau Conservation Society (PCS) and talked to businessmen to urge them to provide alternatives to plastic bags at their stores.
“This year we’re planning to help other schools in Palau to start their own chapters and have their own initiatives because our chapter is focused on plastics and other chapters may have other initiatives,” Holm said.
A report by onegreenplanet.org cited that there are an estimated 270,000 tons of plastic floating on the surface of the ocean and that the study conducted by the Plymouth University revealed that a staggering 700 different marine species are threatened by the presence of plastics in the oceans.
Meanwhile, the Heirs to Our Oceans PMA chapter is also planning to visit different restaurants and try to ask them to commit to not using plastic straws or other plastic bags.
The movement started after Holm was inspired by the presentation of Heirs to Our Oceans Executive Director April Peebler, who visited Palau last December 2016, that led her to form a chapter here.
Heirs to Our Oceans is comprised of young leaders all over the globe who are advocates of ocean conservation.