Youth lead Mabul Island’s coral reef restoration

Coral care: A diver carrying assembled reef stars to deploy underwater. — Photo courtesy of Reef Check Malaysia

KOTA KINABALU: Coral reefs in Mabul are facing local and global impacts, with issues from trash to anchoring damage and nutrient discharge.

To save their precious treasures, members of Pemimpin Belia Iklim Mabul are working hard to preserve the marine ecosystem particularly in restoring coral reefs at the island off Sabah’s east coast Semporna district.

They are preparing to deploy 100 reef stars – hexagonal sand-coated steel structures base for coral fragments to grow – as part of the efforts.

Mabul is famous for snorkelling and scuba diving, but its reef condition is deteriorating.

Reef Check Malaysia programme manager Adzmin Fatta said Mabul reefs are categorised as ‘poor’ in the organisation’s Reef Health Status Report 2023.

“A lot can be done to protect the reefs and ensure the sustainability of the island.

“Apart from consistently monitoring the marine habitat, we are also grooming marine conservation leaders among the islanders.

“Through training, they will become more aware, actively engaged and hopefully continue to steer positive changes on their island,” he said.

He said the locals have also taken the lead to clean up their home island with the help of the District Office and removed almost 10,000kg of waste.

“Imagine, what more can be done if resources are provided,” he said.

Pemimpin Belia Iklim Mabul member Nur Aina Ghalib said the group is tasked with the deployment of 100 reef stars.

“It has been an amazing experience for me,” she added.

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