Underwater and beach clean-up on Pulau Sibuan
In conjunction with International Clean-up Day, Sipadan Scuba (wholly owned by North Borneo Dive & Sea Sports) organised a clean-up of the shorelines and underwater environments of Pulau Sibuan, an island located approximately 30 minutes by speed boat from Semporna last Saturday. WWF-Malaysia assisted in the coordination of the beach activities.
The clean-up, which was held under the Project AWARE banner, was part of efforts conducted globally to conserve marine environments. Project AWARE coordinates the underwater portion of International Clean-up Day, while land clean-ups are organised by the Ocean Conservancy.
The importance of such events is emphasised by the fact that corals, for the first time, are on the latest World Conservation Union’s (IUCN’s) Red List. "The fact that corals are now present on the IUCN’s Red List should sound warning bells to the world that the oceans are in trouble", said Dr Simon Cripps, Director of WWF's Global Marine Programme.
The coral reefs surrounding Semporna are the densest in the whole of Malaysia, and are globally significant in terms of their biodiversity content. They are crucial in ensuring the sustainability of marine life, which provides livelihoods in both fisheries and tourism. Due to the continuous growth in population, demand for marine resources has led to destructive behaviours such as blast fishing, which results in the decimation of coral reefs.
Daniel Doughty, Team Leader of a new project by WWF-Malaysia titled the Semporna Coral Reefs Project, said, “It was great to see happy faces during the clean-up. The community, particularly the children, understood the purpose of this event and participated in all the activities even though it was a very hot day”.
The beach cleanup was held in two segments – dives and non-dives. Divers were divided into three teams, headed by divemasters and instructors from Sipadan Scuba. Three dives were conducted, each time scouring different sections of the reefs surrounding the island of Sibuan. The activities on shore targeted the Bajau Laut children living on the island – team events consisting of hard work (beach clean-up) and fun (sand castle building and beach relay); and impromptu talks aimed at developing pride and empowerment within the children while spreading the message of the importance of conservation.
For further information, please contact:
Marina Aman Sham, Communications Officer
Sulu-Sulawesi Marine Ecoregion Programme, WWF-Malaysia
Tel (office): +6088 262 420 / Mobile: 012 833 1976 / E-mail: email@example.com
Jerry Reichart, Executive Director
Tel: +6089 919 128