For the past four years, Ocean Elements Sdn Bhd had organized Project AWARE coral reef conservation programs on Tenggol Island near the town of Dungun, in the State of Terengganu, Malaysia. Most of the programs have been participated by our own divers and their families and friends, who traveled from Kuala Lumpur and other major towns to the island. However, participation from the local community had been very minimal. This year, we decided to focus on involving the local community of Dungun in the Project AWARE event and to raise the awareness in ocean conservation amongst the students of secondary and tertiary educational establishments there.
At the end of the program, an estimated 500kg of thrash comprising mostly of plastic materials and glass bottles were collected from the beach. In addition, about 4 – 5 tons of dead wood which has swept onto the beach after the recent Monsoon season, were also removed with the help of the local participants and equipment and manpower from Dungun City Council contractors.
Ocean Elements also organized a coral reef conservation seminar for 30 students from Sekolah Menengah Imtiaz (Imtiaz High School), Dungun. The same students participated in our beach cleanup program organized earlier in the day. The school is located opposite the beach and it is our hope that in the future, the school can initiate beach cleanup programs on their own, with our assistance. At the end of the seminar, the students were awarded Project AWARE certificates and stationeries while the school received a collection of books and reference materials on the ocean and marine animals, courtesy of our sponsor, Scomi Marine Berhad.
Another Project AWARE coral reef conservation seminar was later organized for 8 staffs of Scomi Marine Berhad who participated in the 2-day conservation event in Dungun. They later took part in a team-building brainstorming session and discussed topics related to ocean conservation and lessons learnt from the seminar.