PROTECTING the Mersing Islands from pollution should be a joint responsibility of all stakeholders, especially boat operators, as they are the main providers of transport around the islands.
Ateleth Don Peris, sustainable tourism program manager at Reef Check Malaysia (RCM), said tourist activities in Mersing mainly revolve around water activities such as snorkeling, island hopping and diving. underwater.
“The safe operation and conduct of vessels plays a crucial role in avoiding navigational incidents.
“As well as ensuring the safety of their passengers, boat operators should also be mindful of marine life around the island and avoid activities that may harm them,” he said.
RCM recently conducted an awareness talk attended by representatives of local boat operators and government agencies, he added.
“The awareness talk aimed to increase local stakeholders’ awareness of safety issues when conducting water-based activities, particularly when bringing visitors for water-based activities around the Mersing Islands.
“The awareness lecture was delivered by an expert with 30 years of experience in handling and operating vessels,” he said, adding that the lecture also shared some practical guidelines for the implementation of security measures in navigation operations.
The program is part of a long-term initiative by the MRC which is supported by the MISC Group through its Marine Biodiversity Conservation Programme, he added.
“This initiative aims to improve ocean health by supporting coral reef conservation, increasing reef resilience and reducing plastic waste in our oceans.
“RCM also conducted a monthly beach cleanup to address the problem of ocean litter washing up around the Mersing Islands,” Peris said, adding that the program has also received help from other NGOs and government agencies. The issue of ocean plastic pollution is a global concern and is not just happening in Mersing, he added.
“This can lead to financial losses for the government because the cost of cleanup is high, mainly when pollution occurs on high-value beaches.
“It could also trap and kill marine life in addition to damaging boat propellers,” he said.