Building on the Mataking Island, Sabah, Malaysia previous community events, the theme for the 2011 annual event was “Communities Working Together”.
Each year during June, The Reef Dive Resort at Mataking Island comes together with schools, community leaders, local NGO’s and local authorities to make the aquatic world a better place in the Sabah area.
In 2010, the resort was joined by 4 schools from both Semporna and Tawau which brought record numbers to the resort for a day of education, team building, clean-ups and fun. The 2011 event lived up to expectations with even more community participants joining the team effort and for the first time included the local community of Kalapuan Island and community members from Sibuan Island, courtesy of The Semporna Islands Project.
This year, the resort was privileged to have both guests from Tourism Malaysia and the Chairman of Sabah Tourism, Dato’ Seri Tengku Zainal Adlin. Dato Adlin, who officially opened this year’s event said, “It is through events like this that communities working together really can make a difference. These are our oceans and we must work together as one in order to protect and preserve what we have”
General Manager of the resort, Mr. Luke J Cox added, “Each year we try to make each event more unique, and this year with over 240 participants we have really upped our game as we involved local fishing communities in our now locally famous Reef Day” Events for the day were both educational and fun including underwater cleanups, beach cleanups at Mataking Besar, Mataking Kecil, Pandanan and Kalapuan, plus a great educational workshop by WWF and other key local experts, all of which will culminated in a grand beach BBQ at sunset.
“This year the teams were involved the clearing of over 650kg of debris from 4 islands, which is really impressive”, said Resort Manager, Mr. Luke J Cox. “By bringing communities together like this shows a real sense of ownership for the area and allows us to all have fun together at the same time”
The data collected will now be added to Project AWARE's Dive Against Debris database. The event which again coincided with the annual Reef Health Check by partners Reef Check Malaysia was also attended by community members from the Semporna Islands Project at Sibuan Island who launched their community postcards at the event on the same day