Gaya Island, Kota Kinabalu: Last Sunday Downbelow hosted a successful Project AWARE event with a big number of participants and an even bigger number of trash removed.
A whopping 53 participants participated in this month's event and together saved the marine environment from 689kg of debris.
Thanks to good exposure in the run-up to the event, we had a record number of participants sign up from institutions in Kota Kinabalu such as the Sabah Tourism Board, the Asian Tourism Institute, our own dive club and members of the public.
It provided us an unprecedented platform from which to spread awareness about the scourge of marine debris and through the day itself provide vivid evidence of the scale of the often unseen problem in our own town. Solutions to the problem were also discussed.
To spread not only awareness, but also the passion for creating awareness, two of our Professional Scuba Diving interns Joe and Paul got involved with the day.
The first Project AWARE event for both of them, they both felt that they were personally enriched by the experience, not just by being involved and doing something for the environment, but also by gaining the knowledge of the problems and solutions to pass on to others.
"It was great", said Paul who has been on a professional internship with Downbelow for the last two months.
"It feels like I've done something worth remembering today to save the seas", he said after spending the day hard at work removing rubbish from the bay.
Together all the participants collected 689 kg of marine debris of all descriptions.
PADI Instructor Alvin was dumbfounded to find an unopened can of beer. “It's amazing what people throw in the water,” he said holding up the can. “Who throws away an unopened can of beer?” he asked.
After the hard work, Downbelow treated all the participants to a well deserved lunch. Downbelow sponsored the lunch along with the boat transfers and equipment. Sabah Parks and Sutera Harbour Marina waived their park and jetty fees respectively.
Now a customary ritual, Downbelow concluded the day with a fund raising raffle for which they sponsored a Pleasure Diving Day or a Discover Scuba Diving Experience. RM 548 were raised, which will be donated to Project AWARE.
We look forward to our next Project AWARE event, which we'll post in our Action section here on My Ocean.
For more photos for the event, check out our Facebook photo album.