Raduva an eco-champ

AnnMary Raduva plants mangroves at the Suva foreshore. Picture: SUPPLIED

Being an eco-champ is not an easy task for a teenager.

Balancing school work while being an active force in the environmental field can be quite strenuous.

But the 17-year-old, St Joseph’s Secondary School student AnnMary Raduva, has made it seem almost easy, judging by the many accolades and praise she has received while attaining good grades in school at the same time.

Raduva, who hails from Viwa, Tailevu, with maternal links to Malha’a, Rotuma, has been a trailblazing figure with her many environmental campaigns from mangrove planting at the Nasese foreshore, “Say No To Balloon Release” campaign as well as collecting and distributing dignity packs with her two sisters for women and girls affected by Tropical Cyclone Harold and STC Yasa.

The soft-spoken lass said she was first inspired to become involved with the environment after watching a YouTube video of a turtle die from swallowing a balloon fragment.

“I cried and thought how cruel we can be when we don’t think of the other animals that call our planet home,” Raduva said.

This inspired her to draft a campaign strategy with the help of her parents, calling for a ban on balloon releasing in social events, naming it the “Say No to Balloon Release Campaign.”

This campaign was not all smooth-sailing with some people calling the campaign an intrusion on their event management and so Raduva turned to a much eco-friendlier alternative planting mangroves.

“I took the initiative to plant mangroves as a better alternative to balloon-releasing and since 2018 I have organised and planted close to 40,000 mangrove propagules along the Suva foreshore with the help of young ecochamp members, families, friends and schoolmates.”

When not tackling world issues, Raduva has a variety of hobbies to keep her focused and relaxed.

“I take prayer walks with my family to Suva’s foreshore and also like helping out in the kitchen. I love to learn how to cook authentic Fijian and Rotuman dishes.”

Raduva also likes to keep an active lifestyle outdoors by gardening or playing any kind of outdoor sports.

Her resume is an impressive one considering she is only 17 years old and she credits that to her humble upbringing.

“My inspiration comes from my late grandfather (tukaqu) as he taught me to live a minimalist life and he was also very empowering in his spiritual teachings about our responsibility to protect our environment.”

Her maternal grandfather (ma’piga), based in United Arab Emirates (UAE), has also been inspirational in empowering her and one whom she discusses her ideas with.

One thing Raduva hopes to change in Fiji is the culture of pollution that is prevalent among the people.

“It starts from home my parents were very particular about waste management and it annoys me when I see an adult littering or a small kid unconsciously littering in front of adults and no one really cares to correct the child.”

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