The marine animals around the city of Kota Kinabalu get to breathe a little easier, for the weekend at least, when Dive Downbelow and Hyatt Regency of Kota Kinabalu came together and cleaned the beach of Gaya Island. The two organisations came together for an independent Project AWARE Ocean Clean-up and Mangrove Planting Day.

The day started with Downbelow Managing Director and Platinum PADI Course Director Richard Swann welcoming the 26-strong staff from Hyatt to Downbelow’s PADI 5-Star IDC Dive Centre followed by a briefing and presentation on the importance of mangroves. Richard also outlined why marine debris must be removed and how it should be done.

When the briefing was over, everyone enthusiastically got into the act of cleaning the beach in front of our dive centre including the tricky rocky areas.

The clean-up lasted until noon when everyone was treated to a delicious lunch.

After a good short rest, everyone got into the mood of working for nature again but this time it was mangrove planting time with the help of Sabah Parks. Just like coral reefs, mangrove plants are productive ecosystems that provide beneficial services both to the marine environment and people.

Needless to say this was as important as the clean-up itself and everyone had a go at planting the mangrove saplings.

The day ended with the official weigh-in of the trash collected being announced at 347kg! This was a non-profit day, with both companies supporting the cause to generate a donation of RM1,250.00 (AUD 416.00).

The day did not end there as we also found time to shoot some very cool pictures for the Hyatt photo competition (#InAHyattWorld) in the hope the team from Hyatt KK can win a 5k donation to be given out for local Sabah charities.

With that we ended our conservation day. So a huge thanks to Hyatt Regency KK and everyone who took part in this successful conservation awareness fund raising day.