How The Perhentian Islands Marine Project Keeps Their Coasts Clear

How The Perhentian Islands Marine Project Keeps Their Coasts Clear

Posted by Ellie Hutchin on 07/05/2018

The work done at the Perhentian Islands Marine Project is vital for conserving Perhentian Kecil’s stunning marine ecosystem. Although, there is one thing that makes this extremely difficult, and truly upsets this picture-perfect setting – litter. 

Litter seems to be found everywhere you turn, and in light of Mother Ocean Day (10Th May), we thought it would be the perfect time to give credit to those who really are trying to save our oceans. Litter is hazardous to both the animals and the plant species which call our oceans home, as well as playing a huge role in maintaining the health of their environment. Combined with global warming and other elements of negative human impact, the sheer amount of litter within the world’s reefs and beaches means that the oceans and their inhabitants are in grave danger. 

Cleaning litter at the Perhentian Islands Marine Project

In an update received from the hardworking team at the project, we can see volunteers getting stuck into a beach clean. During these cleans, some volunteers will take a boat out into the water, snorkel in hand, to fish around for litter. They then bring back to the shore all that they find: from tires, bottles and old nets, each of these items cause serious damage to the environment. The nets, for example, entangle coral, animals, and other oceanic life - a heartbreaking symptom of humans not caring for the ocean. In the meanwhile, back on land more staff and volunteers are removing litter one piece at a time from the beach, from hats and clothes buried in the sand, to countless cigarette butts, plastic, and even glass. 

Check out this short video where we can see the volunteers hard at work trying to combat Perhentian's litter problem! 

Littering is an odd concept. You wouldn’t dispose of waste on the floor in your house, or your garden, restaurants or shops, so why throw waste on the floor, on the beach, or even into the sea? Plastic bottles, carrier bags and food wrappers are choking our coastlines, often ending up being consumed by animals and when this happens it can be fatal. The marine species which consume the plastic often starve to death, as their stomachs cannot digest litter and they become unable to consume any more food because of this. It is alarming and upsetting that it is not just poachers or industrial developers destroying habitats - as a society, we are all responsible for the demise of thousands upon thousands of animals every year.

Scientists say that around 12 million tonnes of plastic end up in our oceans each year, and research shows that since the 1950s, we have produced an amount of plastic that equals the weight of 1 billion elephants - yet just 9% of this has been recycled. Where is the rest? The answer is, it has either been dumped in landfills, burned (releasing toxic chemicals and dioxins into the environment) or is floating around in the ocean. 

It is clear to see just how important the work of the Perhentian Islands Marine Project is, but also that there is still so much more that needs to be done. However, the project cannot run without volunteers, and without the project, what will be the fate of the aquatic world surrounding this Malaysian island? To take part in the incredible efforts of the project team so far, consider joining the Perhentian Islands Marine Project today.


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