The recent UMS-SHR’s collaboration, Sustaining Kota Kinabalu Marine Heritage CSR Project, came to a conclusion with a farewell cum appreciation dinner celebrating those who contributed a tremendously remarkable effort towards the conservation of marine life here in Kota Kinabalu.
The week-long conservation work saw volunteers from various countries, including Myanmar, Cambodia, Vietnam, the Philippines, Thailand, Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, Australia and as far as Denmark, participating in various tasks to study the cause of pollution in the ocean and on the shorelines of Kota Kinabalu.
The project, which was sponsored by Jebsen and Jessen as part of their Meet a Green Need programme, was endorsed by GSH Corporation’s Vice Chairman Mr Francis Lee.
The project, which started 30 July 2018 and ended 3 August 2018, saw experts in Marine Biodiversity gave lectures and presented findings and data collected by volunteers in various locations.
On Day 1, dignitaries, experts and volunteers gathered at the Theatre Hall of Sutera Harbour Marina Golf and Country Club for the opening ceremony.
GSH Corporation Vice Chairman Mr Francis Lee, UMS’ Borneo Marine Research Institute Director Prof. Dr. Rossita Shapawi, UMS’ Borneo Marine Research Institute Manager of Coral Triangle Sabah Branch Office, Sutera Harbour Marina, Golf and Country Club General Manager Mr. Rick Blackie and Jebsen & Jessen (SEA) Corporate Communications Ms. Anthea Ho were among the dignitaries present during the opening ceremony.
Experts in various fields of marine conservation presented their talks on various issues pertaining pollutions and their impacts to marine environment.
Associate Professor Dr. Abentin Estim talked about “Marine debris at beaches and coastal waters of Sabah”; how this type of made-man pollution, deliberately or accidentally released in a lake, sea, ocean, or waterway, which floated back to the shoreline, posed a serious threat to fish, seabirds, marine reptiles, and marine mammals, as well as to boats and coasts.
Associate Professor Dr. Juanita Joseph shared her expertise on “Impacts of marine debris to the marine environment” while Dr. Chen Cheng Ann talked on the “Techniques and sampling procedures of stranded marine debris".
The Trash Hero Borneo Co-Founder Ms. Monica Chin talked on “Upcycling” while Mr. Muhammad Ali bin Syed Hussein talked on “Shoreline biodiversity in Kota Kinabalu”.
Also present during the opening ceremony was Associate Professor Dr. Teruaki Yoshida from the Unit for Harmful Algal Bloom Studies (UHABS), Borneo Marine Research Institute Universiti Malaysia Sabah.
The project went into full force the next day with volunteers divided into groups and stationed at designated and potential areas for data collection. The effort was divided into three components; coral reefs, shoreline ecosystem or beach combing and plankton or primary producers.
Perhaps the most anticipated activity during the week was diving. Unfortunately, bad weather prevented the volunteers to gather data through this method.
The project managed to collect almost a tonne of rubbish and it is upsetting to see so much plastic garbage being thrown along the shores of our beautiful city.
An appreciation dinner culminated the noble efforts with performances by the volunteers. Apart from having fun, everyone got to know more of their fellow mates during the performances.
They brought in entertainment based on their home countries and it was heartening to see that everyone participated joyously.
The dinner was graced by the appearances of GSH Corporation's Vice Chairman Mr Francis Lee, UMS’ Borneo Marine Research Institute Director Prof. Dr. Rossita Shapawi, UMS’ Borneo Marine Research Institute Manager of Coral Triangle Sabah Branch Office, UMS’ Borneo Marine Research Institute (Research and Innovation) Deputy Vice-Chancellor Professor Dr. Shahril Yusof, UMS’ Borneo Marine Research Institute (Research and Innovation) Deputy Director Associate Prof. Dr. Sitti Raehanah Muhamad Shaleh, Sutera Harbour Resort's Deputy Chief Executive Officer, Mr Gerard Tan, Sutera Harbour Marina, Golf and Country Club General Manager Mr. Rick Blackie and Jebsen & Jessen (SEA) Corporate Communications Ms. Anthea Ho.