We finally made it to Mantanani Island, 30km northwest of Sabah in Borneo. We are here to deliver our Shruder program for Reef Check Malaysia, sponsored by Coca-Cola.
The Mantanani Archipelago consists of 3 islands, the largest called Mantanani Besar (‘Big Mantanani’). The population consists of approximately 1000 Banjan Ubian locals living in 2 villages. The main economic activities here are fishing, drying salted fish and collecting shellfish.
Tourism is rapidly growing due to the popularity of the island as a snorkeling and diving destination. Currently the surrounding reefs are not gazetted as a Marine Park and the coral reefs are heavily impacted by fishing and fish bombing! Yes, that’s right, dynamite is used to blow up reefs to catch fish, an incredibly destructive practice that damages large areas of the reef around the island.
Thanks to the efforts of groups like Reef Check these practices are being phased out and the status of the coral reefs documented. Reef Check is a global network of marine scientists that survey and document coral reef health conditions, using indicator species and standardized global reporting. They work with government, private, NGO’s and community sectors for the benefit of protecting and enhancing global reefs for the future.
Their 2017 Malaysia Coral Reef report found that on Mantanani Island 42% of coral reefs are in good health, whilst the remaining 58% are considered only fair or poor.
Reef Check have been instrumental in setting up a small recycling facility on the island. Glass crushing, plastic bottle balers and now a plastic shredding and remoulding Shruder machine will help to ensure the reefs protection from plastic leakage and contribute to the long term health and recovery of the reefs.
We are very excited to meet the crew here and are looking forward to supporting a waste-free Mantanani Island and Resource Recovery program.