NES Director Halatoa Fua says the videos are part of a suite of seven videos, all designed to raise public awareness about our environment and the challenges we face.
“We hope people enjoy watching them. They contain information which can be readily used, and some intriguing facts about some areas of concern like wetlands. It is clear that what we do, especially undertaking developments, has a detrimental impact on the environment. Our goal is to ensure we minimise this impact.”
Highlighting how to reduce waste
The Stop, Think, Ask, Recycle (STAR) video features local school children showing us ways to reduce waste. They talk about the five Rs of managing waste – Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Repurpose, Recycle. They give us tips on how to swap our single use plastic for environmentally friendly alternatives. These include reusable shopping bags, lunch boxes and drink bottles.
The children urge us to take the STAR approach when we buy things. Stop and think before we buy, ask for help if we need it, and recycle using the five Rs. The clear message is that every purchasing choice we make is a vote for the world we want.
Managing the impacts of development
In the Developing or Destroying? video, NES staff run us through what is legally needed and why, before any development for foreshore, sloping land or wetland can take place. These are classified as areas of concern.
All developments on the Cook Islands must go through the NES environment compliance process for sign-off. It is designed to ensure environmental impacts are carefully considered.
The video tells us that the wetlands act like the Earth’s kidneys. They filter out pollutants like fertilisers, septic waste and mud from our water coming from the mountains. They are therefore essential in keeping our lagoon healthy. If they are filled for development, this can cause long term problems.
Similarly, changes to the foreshore and sloping land, can cause erosion, poor drainage and sedimentation. The NES sign-off process covers these potential issues.