Berjaya Hotels & Resorts Cleans Up and Protects Redang Island
Friday, 24 October 2008 00:00

span class=Volunteers help restore Redang's reefs
442 venomous thorny starfishes were removed in mass marine clean-up act.


442 poisonous starfishes, 200 metres of broken ropes, 20 aluminum beverage cans, 25 plastic beverage bottles, and 15 plastic bags.

That's the total amount of rubbish and harmful marine life that volunteer scuba divers and beach lovers picked up during an island-wide clean-up on Redang this month.

Some 100 people from Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong and the Philippines did their part for the marine environment from Oct 10 to 12, at Berjaya Hotels and Resorts' third annual Redang Island Clean-up Day (RICD).

Redang, located on the east coast of Peninsular Malaysia, is renowned for its clear blue waters, sandy beaches and rich coral flora and fauna.

However the marine life has come under threat due to the impact of tourism and growing numbers of reef-debilitating creatures like the 'crown-of-thorns'.

Scuba divers at the clean-up were given the precarious job of removing these starfishes, which can impart a painful sting upon contact.

The 'crown-of-thorns', which feeds on hard corals, can have devastating effects on the reef's ecosystem when their numbers become too large.

When they consume corals faster than the rate of coral growth, vast areas of living coral can be wiped out relatively quickly. Once a widespread outbreak occurs, it takes 10 to 20 years to fully restore its post outbreak coral cover.

This year, divers fished up 442 'crown-of-thorns', a significant drop from last years' 770 – a sign that the population is dwindling.

Besides the hands-on clean-up, RICD participants also sat through a "Reef Talk" to educate them on the value of coral reefs and threats to their sustainability.

Dive enthusiast Ms Lim Ling Li said she did not realise the harmful effects of 'crowns of thorns' till she got there.

The 35-year-old web designer noticed that corals were perishing and few fishes were swimming amongst the corals where the starfishes thrived.

"Our main objective for RICD is to educate divers and non-divers alike on the importance of protection of marine life today as it is essential to secure better ecological systems for the future," said Mr Sonny Lim, Assistant General Manager of Berjaya Redang Beach Resort.

"It is crucial for us to sound the alarm and send a message to the public on how easily humans can devastate the state of well-being of the environment."

Berjaya Hotels & Resorts collaborated with Berjaya Air, SONY Malaysia, Reef Check Malaysia, Redang Reef Rangers, PADI Project AWARE and OK! Magazine to organise this event.