Yesterday we joined forces with Hyatt Regency Kinabalu to tackle the tide of marine debris on the shores of Gaya island in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah.
It was perfect weather for a day out on the otherwise beautiful beach of Gaya island and all the more rewarding for helping it stay that way.
The team of volunteers consisted of Downbelow's staff, Hyatt Regency Kinabalu, Sabah Parks (our local parks authority), our Go Pro Interns and even a few of our Danish adventurers currently resident on the island.
Our resident PADI Course Director and Downbelow's MD Richard, also gave a talk on the importance of working together to curb the global problem of marine debris.
We were inspired by Hyatt Regency Kinabalu's General Manager, Mr. Arifin Darmawan, who lead by example and jumped in feet first to make a big contribution to the sizable pile of trash we had collected by the end of the day.
Nearly 99% of the trash collected was plastic of some sort, all of which originated elsewhere and more than likely on the nearby mainland. During heavy rains the trash gets washed into the storm-water drains, spills out into the ocean and through tide and wind ends up on our island's beach.
During his talk, Richard made some suggestions for reducing the amount of rubbish that we generate, like using reusable water bottles, bags-for-life when we go shopping and recycling everything we can and dispose resonsibily of that which we cannot.
Downbelow and Hyatt Regency Kinabalu also raised a big donation for the Project AWARE Foundation, which was gifted during a ceremony with a huge mock cheque.
"Today was a great example," Richard said during the closing ceremony, "of how, when we join forces, we can make a difference."
He added that we are much stronger together in the fight against rubbish and thanked all the volunteers for their effort.