Tonnes plastic garbage removed on Mantanani
Published on: Tuesday, January 08, 2019

Kota Belud: A recent beach clean up in Pulau Mantanani by members of the judiciary resulted in the removal of tonnes of plastic garbage.

Chief Judge of Sabah and Sarawak Datuk Seri Panglima David Wong Dak Wah, said this is worrying as so much of what happens on land depends on the health of the oceans.

David, who headed the environmental project thanked the Kota Kinabalu Working Group on Environment (KKCWGE) for helping to rehabilitate, and create an awareness on the problem.

"KKCWGE did a wonderful programme in highlighting the importance of preserving and protecting the environment.

It's our bit to clean up the seas and oceans which we all take for granted, he said.

The Kota Belud Council was involved to form a meaningful relationship between resort owners and guests with regard to disposal of rubbish on the island.

Mantanani is one of the favourite destinations of Chinese tourists and there have been suggestions before that the tourism players who profit from them should be involved in keeping the island clean.

"Once you go into the ocean, you will marvel the beauty of another world," said David, who is a professional diver and ocean lover.

He said the ocean has incredible natural resources. It spans over 70 per cent of the planet's surface. "We live in a blue planet, water is life (water is everything) and it gives us the air to breathe.

"Every second breath we take comes from the ocean. Phytoplankton produces oxygen that enters our atmosphere," he said, adding that an estimated 50-80pc of all life on earth is found under water.

David likened the coral reefs to an underwater rainforest. "Reefs are incredibly biodiverse ecosystems. They provide habitats and are a food source for an array of marine life. It is heaven on earth.

"It is like a sanctuary. Never underestimate the healing benefits of swimming in the ocean. The ocean has this unique ability to relax your mind and allow you to be fully present in the moment, letting all your worries fade away."

Besides, he said the ocean covers about three quarters of the earth and creates and regulates weather around the globe.

Because of the important role in producing water, food and oxygen, the impact and damage by pollution, tourism and human activities really affect marine life.

The team also planted corals to provide shelter and food for the sea creatures and ensure the survival of marine biodiversity.

In this, they were assisted by the Sabah Fisheries Department led by its Director, Dr Ahemad Sade. The residents on the island were told that fish bombing is harmful to both their livelihood as well as tourism.

Ahemad urged members of the public to do their small part to help restore the underwater world by not throwing garbage and minimise the use of plastic in their day-to-day activities.

Tan Sri Richard Malanjun, Chief of Justice of Malaysia greatly supported this move and encouraged members to continue their efforts to do more for preserving the environment. - Lorena Binisol


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