I mentioned in my previous write up that my trip to Tioman Island was not just for fun but I was there to participate in Tioman Island Clean Up Day. Some of you might still be confused as I haven’t update much on what it is all about, so here’s a little bit about the program;
Tioman Island Clean Up Day is an initiative by Berjaya Hotels & Resort to gather divers from all around the world to clean up the reefs and the surrounding areas. The program started off in the year 2011 as an informal gathering of divers who are passionate about conserving the undwerwater ecosystem and clean up the reef, but Tioman Island Clean-up Day has now evolved into a full scale annual Corporate Social Responsibility programme by Berjaya Tioman Resort. The meaningful program is supported by PADI, Project AWARE and a lot of participating Tioman dive centres.
Tioman Island Clean Up Day usually involves more than 100 volunteers from all around the world, including Berjaya staff, children from Tioman Island schools, media participants and even celebrities. Realizing shown important it is to keep the ocean clean, everyone played their part and put in plenty of efforta to clean up the beach and the coral garden in Tioman Island.
During my snorkeling and kayaking session, I had a little chit chat with my instructor and I was told that at least 8 million tonnes of debris enters the world’s oceans each year, causing harm to underwater environments and the marine life. And because Tioman Island offshore ecosystems, its unique coral gardens are susceptible to the accumulation of debris and hence efforts are made to employ divers to fan over the coral gardens, with the aim to collect rubbish, to be taken to land for incineration and proper disposal.
But it’s not just man-made rubbish that is collected during Tioman Island Clean Up Day. Another important mission during the Tioman Island Clean Up Day is to search and dispose crown-of-thorns. The crown-of-thorns sea star, is basically a large, multiple-armed starfish (or seastar) that usually preys upon hard, or stony, coral polyps. The crown-of-thorns sea star receives its name from venomous thorn-like spines that cover its upper surface, resembling the Biblical crown of thorns. It is one of the largest sea stars in the world.
Apart from removing the treacherous crown-of-thorns, coral tables are also installed under the sea in effort to encourage coral growth.
Here’s an exclusive interview with Mr.Chen Tian Chad. A photographer by profession and a diver by passion, he is one of the divers who volunteered during the Tioman International Clean Up Day.
There’s no pictures of divers fishing out and disposing the nasty crown-of thorns but here’s sharing with you the divers’ pictures during their diving session in Tioman Island Clean Up Day 2016. All the pictures featured here is courtesy of Mr.Chen Tian Chad. You may check out his blog HERE.
Divers collecting corals to plant it on the coral nursery table in order to encourage them to grow.
Planting corals onto the coral nursery table.
A team of divers planting the corals they collected onto the coral nursery table, in hopes that they will grow and multiply.
A closer look at the coral planting effort.
The ‘seeds of hope’. The coral nursery table are left underwater in hopes that it will be a permanent home of more corals and other marine life in Tioman Island.
With unique access to the underwater world, scuba divers can help remove whatever that is harmful to the marine life under the sea but we can play our part to raise awareness and drive positive change in order to conserve the ocean and keep it beautiful too. It is important to remember that whenever we visit a beach, we are not supposed to take or leave anything, so the next time you go for a dose of Vitamin Sea or an island retreat, remember to not take anything but memories and leave nothing but footprints behind.
Before I pen down, I sure hope that Tioman Island Clean Up Day will serve to strengthen our resolve to maintain our efforts to keep Tioman’s ecosystems flourishing, both above and below the waterline, and next year, God willing, I hope to play an active part in Tioman Island Clean Up Day as a diver instead of just being a member of the media who was just there to cover the news for it.