Tioman receives a massive clean-up through help from volunteers

The staff of Reef Check Malaysia (RCM) and Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) recently returned to the shores of Tioman Island – located 32km off Rompin, Pahang – to continue with efforts to protect the island’s beaches and ocean floor.

Some 40 volunteers took part in the three-day Tioman Island Reef Rehabilitation programme under the supervision of RCM’s senior programme manager Alvin Chelliah.

They were divided into two groups – the first took care of the sea, while the second, the land.

The group who dived into the sea focused on planting new corals to artificial frames and removing the harmful crown of thorns (CoT) starfish and snails that destroyed the corals.

The non-divers, meanwhile, carried out beach cleaning activities at other parts of the island.

The group also constructed ‘Rumah Hijau’ (greenhouse), also known as the recycling centre, at Kampung Air Batang to segregate and collect the recyclable items, before being transported to the mainland.

This is RBC's fifth year returning to the island for the project. Its human resource department head S. Manindra was delighted to see that their efforts were bearing fruit.

“As we walked, we spotted recycling bins properly placed, and people were more aware of the importance of recycling rather than simply throwing unwanted items away.

“Our divers also went into the sea to cull the CoT and replanted the corals, to rehabilitate them," he added.

Meanwhile, Alvin lauded the commitment shown by RBC in the programme.

"It is rare for corporate companies to come to the same place for five years. They are here to ensure the continuity of the good work started in 2015.

"We have also constructed Rumah Hijau at other places upon request by locals who wanted a similar facility as that in Kampung Air Batang. This shows how successful the programme has been and how well it has been accepted by the locals," he concluded.