Malaysian Nature Society
The sea was brought to Kuala Lumpur for World Ocean Day (WOD) on the 11th and 12th of August, featuring exhibitions, workshops, talks and games all focused around the marine environment.
Organised by MNS Marine (Marine Special Interest Group of the Malaysian Nature Society Selangor Branch) and Lions Club/Leos Club, the event was run solely by volunteers, and had roughly 70 participants, including generous sponsors, MNS SIGs, NGOs, eco-friendly vendors and individuals.
The event drew around 5,000 visitors, varying from kindergarten school groups to university level; marine, terrestrial and zero-waste NGOs; members from the organising bodies; and the general public, from grandmothers to toddlers. It was not only a space for learning, but for those already involved to connect with other like-minded people.
“We wanted to get everyone to appreciate the beauty of the ocean and how we were linked to it,” said MNS Marine’s WOD 2018 coordinator Tan Whei Li. “We also wanted to encourage people to realise that every action of ours, everything we buy, every meal we eat, was directly or indirectly affecting the environment.” The event aimed to raise awareness about Ocean health, including the importance of coral reefs, seagrass and sharks.
A key objective of WOD was to show the impact of plastic on our oceans. Therefore MNS Marine endeavoured to make WOD as plastic free as possible. People were encouraged to pledge to use fewer plastics, while vendors were present to offer eco friendly alternatives.
MNS Marine was also on hand to encourage people to participate in beach clean ups, and how to be the most effective. MNS’ Herpetology, Bird, Flora and Caving SIG’s were offering speciality nature trips, to teach people about the natural environment.
Shark Savers Malaysia did some myth busting with children, while chelonian expert Dr Chen Pelf Nyok shared turtle facts, and Dr Jillian Ooi gave a talk on the importance of seagrass meadows and their inhabitant’s dugongs. At the Seagrass Guardians booth Michael Yap was teaching people about blue carbon. Visitors were also able to learn about Malaysia’s marine parks and why they were established.
“WOD is a celebration of life. Without water, nothing will survive in this planet,” said Wong Wee Liem, MNS Marine Coordinator. “Our planet was called planet earth; I prefer to call it planet water.”
Adapted from the Press Release