Who knew collecting trash could be so much fun?Gaya Island, Kota Kinabalu: Sunday passed was blessed indeed.

Not only was the day an island of sunshine in a sea of stormy weather, but Gaya Island benefitted as over 50 volunteers pitched in to help clean its shorelines.

All this happened during Downbelow’s recent Project AWARE event.

A regular occurrence, it’s aimed at helping the environmental organisation raise awareness of the problem of marine debris.

The event was well publicised this time around as the Sabah Tourism Board magazine picked up the details for their September issue.

As a result 53 eager participants from organisations such as the Asian Tourism Institute ATI, Sabah Tourism Board STB and Downbelow’s own dive club signed up.

Project AWARE Sep 2011 Participants with some of the collected trashMembers of the public also pitched in, including locals and participants from Japan and the UK.

Additional coverage will also be provided courtesy of a production team from Astro’s Channel 180 who joined the event to film a segment for an program on the channel.

It will be aired on 2 October.

Hard work in spite, the participants had a fun time.

Together we collected a whopping 689 kg of marine debris.

All sorts of plastic made up the bulk of the trash, with glass, metals and other assorted rubbish in the mix.

“We always find amazing rubbish,” said Downbelow PADI Instructor Alvin who lead one of the groups, “and this time was no different.”

Downbelow's Marketing Director Joanne and her parents also helped with the cleanupAsked about one of their more interesting finds, he picked up an unopened can of beer.

“Who throws away an unopened can of beer?” he asked incredulously.

Following the hard work, the participants were treated to a scrumptious lunch sponsored by Downbelow, together with the boat transfers and equipment.

Sabah Parks and Sutera Harbour Marina waived their park and jetty fees respectively.

Dowbelow’s customary raffle rounded of the day to raise money for Project AWARE.

Downbelow sponsored a Full Day Pleasure Diving or a Discover Scuba Experience for the raffle and managed to raise RM 548 from the participants to give back to Project AWARE.

Check out more photos from the day in this Facebook photo album.