Iqbal (seated on pier’s boardwalk, left) with his team of divers for FOB’s fourth ‘ghost net-hunting’ operation.
MIRI: The Future Ocean Borneo (FOB) is ready to work with any public and private agencies to promote Miri as the go-to eco-dive destination, and also to practise ocean conservation and cleaning activities.
FOB founder Iqbal Abdollah acknowledges that the Sarawak government has been going all out in promoting the dive sites, but he also believes that the educational value must be a part of this strategy.
“The ocean and the marine life are suffocating from human activities, including the dumping of fishing nets – known as ‘ghost nets’ – as well as rubbish.
“By promoting eco-diving tourism, it would create a more positive impact where we encourage tourists with diving experience to join the cleaning-up activities and removing rubbish that are threatening the ocean and marine life,” he said when met after leading several divers for FOB’s fourth ‘ghost net-hunting’ operation in Seafan Garden dive site, offshore here recently.
Iqbal said to sustain such endeavour, strong and ongoing support from the public and the government would be vital.
“Currently, we are doing these using our own pocket money. We do hope for physical and financial support from the government and the private sector for future operations.
“Of course, by doing this we also hope that what we are doing could inspire more people to realise the importance of protecting coral reef and fighting pollution that is threatening not only the marine life, but also the water that is much needed by every living being on Earth,” he stressed.
The fourth operation, he revealed, was a bit of a challenge compared with the previous three due to the structure and size of ghost nets found, and the locality of the coral reef.
“The low visibility, which was less than 5m, added to the challenge; as such, we had to do the second dive (in Seafan Garden) and we managed to also clean up Nemo City dive site a bit, during the third dive,” he said, adding that his team removed a total of 43kg worth of ghost nets from the site.
The operation involved 10 volunteers, himself included – some of his team members are from Bintulu, Brunei and Singapore.
“Since the first operation of FOB’s ‘Borneo Ghost Net Hunter’ in July 2017, we have conducted a total of 10 operations. We are proud with the total record of 784.3kg of ghost nets and rubbish removed from the Miri and Brunei waters.
“It inspires us to do more and we like to encourage more people to join us,” said Iqbal.
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