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Sea Of Plastic Gathered Near Suva Harbour Reefs Shock Scientist

A sea of plastic had gathered near the reefs in Suva Harbour and it made navigation hard, says scientist Gilianne Brodie as she recalled one her field expeditions.
23 Sep 2020 10:22
Sea Of Plastic Gathered Near Suva Harbour Reefs Shock Scientist

A sea of plastic had gathered near the reefs in Suva Harbour and it made navigation hard, says scientist Gilianne Brodie as she recalled one her field expeditions.

University of the South Pacific deputy director for the Institute of Applied Science, Ms Brodie has been studying molluscs and gastropods, which includes marine and land snails and slugs.

She even discovered a species of sea slugs in Fiji and it was documented in scientific journals.

Ms Brodie made a presentation on the changes of diversity on a shell-less slug found in Suva Harbour at the Environmental Journalism Workshop at USP. This workshop is a partnership between Internews, Earth Journalism Network and USP Journalism.

As part of her study on marine snails and slugs, Ms Brodie makes trips to the reefs around Fiji. She said plastic bottles and other plastic debris had floated to the reef.

“It was plastic floating near the reef in Suva Harbour. It had not made it to the open sea. We found it very difficult to navigate through this,” she said

Irresponsible disposal of plastic and other rubbish have been highlighted time and time again. Plastic bottles, packaging and styrofoam containers amount for the most common form of rubbish found floating in the sea.

Informal settlements next to rivers and waterways in urban areas have used the rivers to dispose of rubbish.

At the workshop (from left), Fiji Sun Managing Editor Digital Rosi Doviverata, Internews Pacific Partnership Co-ordinator, Donna Hoerder and Fiji Sun SunCity Editor Shalveen Chand at the University of the South Pacific Laulaca Campus on September 22, 2020. Photo: Ronald Kumar

At the workshop (from left), Fiji Sun Managing Editor Digital Rosi Doviverata, Internews Pacific Partnership Co-ordinator, Donna Hoerder and Fiji Sun SunCity Editor Shalveen Chand at the University of the South Pacific Laulaca Campus on September 22, 2020. Photo: Ronald Kumar

All of this floats out to the ocean and over time affects marine life.

Ms Brodie said the study and collection of data on marine snails, slugs and other small marine life allowed scientists to find out what was happening to marine life.

She says the data can be used to find sources of pollution and human activity that leads to decline in the numbers of some of the species found around the Suva Harbour.

She also highlighted environmentally unfriendly practices when collecting food which includes snails and slugs also damaging the numbers of these species.

“The direct and indirect effects of human activity account for most biodiversity loss and habitat degradation in recent decades. Water quality degradation resulting from increased sediment and nutrient runoff from human altered water catchments is of concern,” she said.

Edited by Jonathan Bryce

Feedback: shalveen.chand@fijisun.com.fj

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