Buoj Island is one of 56 islands that make up Ailinglaplap Atoll. The community there has proposed making 121 acres of ocean a no-take zone for 10 years. This area, at one of the passes in the atoll, is home to many fish species, including the endangered Napoleon wrasse, as well as dolphins, sea turtles, rays, lobsters, crabs, and sea urchins. The island’s leadership have stated a strong commitment to the proposed MPA.
The community seeks a grant for a combined basketball and volleyball court, lit by six solar-powered lights. Although basketball is very popular across Micronesia, there is no court on Ailinglaplap Atoll. The community plans to organize tournaments for island youth and for teams from neighboring small islands.
Building a court is a creative and much-needed way to tackle obesity and related diseases such as diabetes, which are a scourge in the South Pacific. The region has the highest rate of diabetes in the world—in the Marshalls, it affects almost half of the population over age 35. A lighted court will encourage valuable exercise, especially among boys and girls. The space will also serve as a site for community meetings and celebrations.