Kota Kinabalu, Sabah: The week started on a very positive note for the marine environment of Kota Kinabalu, with a huge beach clean-up that removed 1,532kg of marine debris from the city’s beaches.

The massive effort to clean the popular Likas Bay beach was part of the Save The Beach 2011 campaign, organised by long-distance learning students from local university, Universiti Teknologi MARA Sabah (UiTM).

As is quite normal with collectable marine debris – especially in Kota Kinabalu – the bulk of the rubbish were plastics of all varieties including plastic bags, plastic bottles and other plastic containers, packaging and wrappers. Styrofoam packaging also abound.

The mayor of Kota Kinabalu, Datuk Abidin Madingkir, was present to officiate the event and, in a press interview, urged the public to reduce the usage of these items in their daily lives.

Downbelow, in conjunction with government body Sabah Parks, frequently arranges Project AWARE events around Gaya Island to clean up the beach, mangroves and shallow water around and near our dive centre.

Because of this, we were invited to talk to the students about the menace of ocean-bound trash.

Downbelow’s General Manger Evelyn Matthew addressed the students and other participants, explaining the wider implications of marine rubbish, the impact it has on the environment, which is mostly invisible to non-divers and why it’s important to continue such initiatives.

Seeing the city of Kota Kinabalu take marine debris seriously is win for everybody and Downbelow fully supports the ongoing effort to rid our ocean of man-made trash.

Downbelow's Ev (right) receiving a token of appreciation from Dr. Hj. Abdul Kadir Hj. Rosline, Rector of UiTM Sabah (left)

Volunteers to the rescue during the UiTM Save Our Beach 2011 clean-up campaign

Trash Tide in Kota Kinabalu, which is why beach clean-ups are needed

Lots of trash during the UiTM Save Our Beach 2011 cleanup campaign