Mamanuca Environment Society started its Refresher Course program with the South Sea Island staff on Wednesday the 17th of July. In the past years, the Activities/ Marine department are always targeted for this course.

For 2013, it has been decided to target the entire department in every member resorts since their daily work involves interaction with the environment.

South Sea Island is a small resort specifically developed to cater for day trippers. One can walk around the island in less than 5 minutes; the island is very small to handle the pressure of the increasing number of people coming in everyday as day trippers.

One of the common threats to coral growth is human activities. Humans could threaten the coral ecosystem in direct and in- direct ways. What happens on land will also be affected by the marine environment. Directly, guests could damage the corals by poor snorkeling practices and gaining very little snorkeling briefing could also contribute.

To try and lessen day trip guest’s pressure on the environment, content of the refresher course contains the best guidelines to staffs on how to handle their guests and making sure that they do not spoil the natural setting. Twelve South Sea Island staff attended the one hour program each representing their own department.

Indeed the course is a one working day program, but since the island is always busy from day to day, the Island Managers prefer doing the course at night as this is the only time the targeted participants could be available.

The participants all responded well to the course and this was proved during group activities where the group were divided into four groups of three and were given special topics to discuss which is a practical work of what they will face in reality when dealing with guests in terms of the protecting of the corals reefs and proper waste management.

Since there wasn’t enough time, only two topics were covered which is the (i) Biology of Coral Reefs (ii) Proper Waste Management. These two topics were chosen because it is what the staffs are dealing with everyday. There are guests who come in and go and when they come, they bring different products with them that can produce rubbish.

Food packets, mineral water bottles, paper tissue and plastic bags are an example of materials that can turn into rubbish once completely used.

After the course, participants do acknowledge the effort put in by the society on educating the resort staffs. They were surprised with Waste Management Act stating that it is the first time for them to learn the truth about the waste management laws.

Island Manager on duty, Poasa Seru thanked MES staff for the program and commented that South Sea Island appreciated the program and are looking forward to practice what they have learnt.

South Sea Island hopes the refresher program will run its full course in the coming weeks due to time limits and staff availability.

Soropepeli Seru