Downbelow with students and teachers from the Kinabalu International School during the weekend's Project AWARE Cleanup Event

Downbelow joined forces with the Kinabalu International School this weekend for a Project AWARE event that helped raise awareness amongst the participants of problems afflicting Kota Kinabalu’s seas.

Marine debris is real problem in Kota Kinabalu, caused by careless individuals on the mainland and in island settlements, who discard their rubbish in improper ways.

The rubbish is washed into storm-water drains, where eventually it will end up in the ocean. ┬áMuch of the trash will wash back onto KK’s beaches, and the rest of will get entangled in the reefs, mangroves and rocky shores of the island in the Tunku Abdul Rahman Park.

The aim of the weekend’s Project AWARE event was to spread awareness amongst the school students and help clean up as much of this marine debris as we could reach.

The group from the Kinabalu International Schoo, led by Gareth Pearson (KIS teacher & PADI Instructor), along with DB staff & a handful of volunteer teachers, put in a great effort and collected 647kg of discarded rubbish.

The 36 strong team split into 2 groups; 1 focused on the beach, while the other joined the Downbelow boats for snorkel access to the stoney beaches, not reachable by land.

Check out the pictures of their day at Downbelow’s PADI 5 Star IDC Dive Centre.

Once collected the trash was floated over the fragile reef back to the waiting boats for collection and disposal.

During lunch, Gareth gave an educational talk and a knowledge review to help reinforce lessons learned during the day. Downbelow sponsored all costs for hosting the day and Kinabalu International School raised RM540 as a donation to the Project AWARE Foundation. Sabah Parks provided biodegradable bags and waived the park fees.

All in all, it was an awesome day of education, good old-fashioned, healthy hard work and raising funds to further support Project AWARE’s efforts.

A special thanks goes out to school teachers Gareth, Marianna Cooke, Alun, Charlie Durbin and Augusta, who put in so much effort organising the group and inspiring them to take part.

We look forward to seeing them all again soon, either for diving/snorkelling as part of the KIS Dive Club, or the next beach cleanup.

Visit our conservation page to see examples of how your group can also get involved with helping to save our oceans. Contact us for more information.