In an effort to conserve the underwater environment, 6 dive masters from Langkawi Coral participated in a reef clean-up project in Pulau Payar, a marine park in the state of Kedah, Malaysia. The project , which was held from 22 to 24 March 2010, was organized by Jabatan Taman Laut Negeri Kedah.
In line with Langkawi Coral's corporate vision, which is to promote green tourism, environmentally responsible travel to natural areas to appreciate nature and promote conservation, and sustain the well being of local people, our company participates in and carrying out on-going green projects to promote conservation. This reef clean-up is one of the many green projects that we strongly support.
A number of fishing nets were found during the reef clean-up. These fishing nets and other marine debris such as plastic bags, plastic and glass bottles, and cigarette filters pose a threat to the coral reefs and marine life. The destruction of coral reefs will ultimately cause serious impact to the earth's ecosystem.
The importance of coral reefs
Coral reefs are composed of thousand of tiny animals called polyps. The reefs occupy only 0.7% of the ocean floor but provide homes and vital nursery grounds for 25% of all marine species on earth, which include 4000 species of fish, 700 species of corals and thousands of plants and animals.
Apart from being responsible for building the largest structure on earth - the Great Barrier Reef, coral reefs protect shorelines from erosion and storm and wave damage. The economy of some countries is also associated with coral reefs. Tourism brings in billions of dollars to local economies and being the largest industry on earth, it sustain 10% of all jobs on earth.
Marine debris - a threat to marine life
Marine debris in the world's ocean causes harm to underwater environments and wildlife. In September and October 2009, a staggering 222,215kg of debris were collected from the world's shorelines and underwater environments during the International Clean-up Day organized by Project AWARE Foundation.
Nearly 80% of all marine debris is plastics and these plastics do not biodegrade. Marine debris such as plastics, fishing line and nets, glass bottles, aluminum cans, disposable diapers and others are causing entanglement and ingestion in more than 260 animals species worldwide. More than 1 million seabirds are also reported to be killed by litter each year.
All these numbers are reflection that the world's ocean is in dire need of cleaning-up and conservation. No matter how big or small scale a green project can be, it will make a difference, for in the effort to conserve our environment, every little step counts.