Please Save Our Oceans!

The Coastal Babe

My beloved hometown Miri overlooks the South China Sea. I love beaches and I consider myself lucky living in a coastal city; the nearest beach from my dwelling is about half an hour’s walk (I walk very slow!).

Esplanade Beach Miri - August 2014

The image above was taken sometime in August 2014 at Esplanade beach, Miri.

We all want a clean beach and a healthy ocean because they are not just a sight to behold, but also vital for our economy and well being.

“Ocean is more ancient than the mountains, and freighted with the memories and the dreams of Time.” – H. P. Lovecraft

Coco Cabana in Marina Bay overlooks the South China Sea

The sea beside Coco Cabana, Marina Bay, Miri:

the sea outside Coco Cabana Marina Bay

Treasures

We deserve clean and healthy oceans – they are the priceless treasures that we can pass on to our future generations.

“Not all treasure’s silver and gold, mate.” – Jack Sparrow

It is not a new information that some of our rivers and oceans are full of garbage. Underwater trash is not a treasure we want our future generation to inherit. If our rivers and oceans are scattered with trash and debris, soon our oceans will die! The oceans are closely tied to human systems and we are putting communities at high risk if we continue to litter irresponsibly.

Death by Plastic

Aside from being a repulsive sight, garbage poses serious threat to wildlife who often confuses it as food and accidentally ingest it. Plastic cannot be digested – it sits in the stomach without being able to go anywhere. This eventually leads to blockage on the digestive tract. The wildlife is unable to clear this blockage, at the same time they are unable to partake any real food. It is hard to estimate exactly how many animals are affected by plastic in the oceans each year. We must continue to fight against irresponsible littering.

It is not just the job of divers / conservation officials / your neighbors to make sure our oceans are safe and clean; it is everyone’s responsibility. I’ve seen people throwing rubbish into rivers; some of them ignored my lectures about environmental conservation. We seriously need to build an ocean literate society. Perhaps the basics of environmental science should be permanently embedded into our school core curriculum and syllabus? Do you agree with me?

“The problem is not the problem. The problem is your attitude about the problem. Do you understand?” – Jack Sparrow

Dead Men Tell No Tales; We Will All Be Dead If Our Oceans Die!

Keluar topik sekejab – I watched a movie – Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales last night. If you plan to watch the movie, do remain in your seat even after the movie has finished because there is a scene after the closing credits / end credits. ;-)

I love the sea. There is something mystical about water that draws us and fascinates us. Water is the most omnipresent substance on Earth, along with air; they are the primary ingredient for supporting life. Ocean plankton provides more than half of our planet’s oxygen. There are approximately 332.5 million cubic miles of water on Earth. Water covers more than 70 percent of Earth’s surface – 95 percent of those waters have yet to be explored.

An author named Arthur C. Clarke once remarked, “How inappropriate to call this planet Earth when it is quite clearly Ocean.”

Parents and Their Roles in Creating Responsible Citizens

Good habits is best cultivated from a young age. When I was little, my parents always warned me not to be a litterbug.

According to Melanie Hartgill, a Johannesburg-based educational psychologist, “Children need to develop a sense of responsibility for themselves, others and the world in which they live in order to be contributing members of society. If parents create a loving and supportive home environment and teach their children to understand the enormity of their behaviour and decisions (like choosing to place litter in bins and to clean up after themselves) and also teach them morals, values, and respect for others, then they will be providing a good foundation for social responsibility.” (source)

“A sense of social responsibility in terms of protecting and preserving our environment is an investment in our future and it encourages children to think beyond themselves.” – Melanie Hartgill

What is Polluting Our Oceans?

According to Greenpeace, nearly half of all ocean pollution comes from activities that take place on land, like sewage, industrial and agricultural runoff, garbage dumping, and chemical spills. Another third comes from airborne pollutants, such as sulfur dioxide and mercury from coal-burning power plants. Pesticide and fertilizer runoff are creating huge dead zones – oxygen-depleted areas where many marine species struggle to survive. Oil spills and other pollution at sea – while they carry serious consequences – actually account for a small fraction of ocean pollution.

Findings by various researchers and agencies around the world shown that over-fishing, wasteful by-catch, the destruction of habitat, and resulting changes in marine food webs threaten the living oceans upon which our fishing industry and heritage depend. Nutrients and toxic substances running off cities, streets, yards, and fields and emanating from smokestacks and tailpipes present the greatest pollution threat to coastal waters.

Why Celebrate World Oceans Day?

It is to remind everyone the major role oceans have in our everyday life. Oceans are the lungs of our precious planet. The public should be aware of the impact their actions have on the oceans. Every year, World Oceans Day provides a unique opportunity to honor, help protect, and conserve the world’s oceans.

Whether we live inland or on the coast, all of us are connected to the ocean. By taking care of our own backyard and helping in our community, we are acting as a caretaker of our oceans. Small modifications to our everyday habits will make a difference. Taking care of the oceans is not just the job of conservation officials, it is the responsibility of everyone.

If our oceans wither, we wither too!

We must act urgently and pledge to meet our responsibility to provide for the coming generation a bountiful ocean legacy.

World Oceans Day (WOD) falls on June 8, 2017. It so happens that this year the date falls within the month of Ramadhan, therefore the organizing committee for World Ocean Day Miri 2017 decides to hold the celebration in July 2017.

Organizing Committee for World Oceans Day 2017 in Miri

This is the first time Miri is celebrating World Oceans Day. I am so joyful that we finally have such awareness program here. The organizing committee for World Oceans Day 2017 in Miri is formed by a group of passionate volunteers comprising of professionals from various public and private agencies, members of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and individuals.

The committee is helmed by Datin Juriah Abdullah (fondly known as Datin Judy Wan Morshidi), a renowned social worker in Miri. She is assisted by Iqbal Abdollah, a young active volunteer who is the Assistant Director of Miri Inland Revenue Board (IRB). Three professionals are selected as advisors – Dr. Dominique Dodge, Musa Musbah, and Dr. Loh Yunn Hua.

Pictured below are Datin Juriah Abdullah and Cr. Karambir Singh inside Allamanda Conference Room, MRC Miri Chapter Training Institute, Miri.

Datin Juriah Abdullah and Cr Karambir Singh during the World Oceans Day Miri 2017 press conference

Collaborators of this World Oceans Day Miri 2017 celebration include Miri City Council, Malaysian Red Crescent Miri Chapter, Malaysian Nature Society Miri branch, Pustaka Miri, SOSWE (Society of English Writers – Northern Zone), and Miri Toastmaster Club.

The working committees are Kho Yok Chong, Kent Creansley, Dr. Uma Devi, Devarani A/P Kanniapam, Dayang Siti Nurbaya, Hjh Seraniah Abdullah, Mohd Horiz Bin Resdi, Wong Jing Kwong, Wong Siah Mee, Vivian Imang, Jay She, Katherine Ting, Petrus Gerald Young, Cecilia Sman, Jennie Soh, Cr. Karambir Singh, Cr. Ernest Goh, Cr. Abdullah Jaini, Sofina Tan, Lilian, Patricia, Loh Kiun Shin, and Yeoh Ai Nah. Should I missed out some names, please feel free to contact and correct me, thank you. :-)

This year, World Oceans Day theme is Our Oceans, Our Future (Plastic Pollution Prevention).

World Oceans Day Celebration in Miri

World Oceans Day 2017 celebration in Miri will commence from July 1, 2017 till July 29, 2017. The first activity on July 1, 2017 is “Save the Ocean – Let’s Clean Up” / beach cleaning at Marina Bay (8am to 10am). Everyone is welcomed!

Pictured below Iqbal Abdollah and Cr. Karambir Singh holding up the banner for World Ocean Day Miri 2017.

Iqbal Abdollah and Cr Karambir Singh holding the banner for World Oceans Day Miri 2017

On July 2, a symposium will be held at Pustaka Miri Auditorium. Topic of the symposium is “Miri’s World Ocean Day Symposium 2017”.

On July 8, there will be a speech contest – “Speak Up” at Pustaka Miri from 2pm to 5pm.

On July 15, there will be an essay writing competition at Pustaka Miri multipurpose room from 2pm to 5pm.

From July 23 to July 29, there is an Art & Craft Competition – “Let’s UPCYCLE!” to be held at Pustaka Miri lobby. Remember I told you about those beautiful ‘rainbow beams’ at the lobby of Pustaka Miri in one of my recent posts? :-)

The closing ceremony on July 29, 2017 will be held at Pustaka Miri from 1pm till 5pm. Prize-giving ceremony will be conducted that day. Do watch out for their official facebook page in which they will share further details on the programmes.

View from behind the cameras:

WOD Miri 2017 committee members posing for photo

Deep in thoughts:- Seen in the picture below (from left to right) are Iqbal Abdollah, Datin Juriah Abdullah, Cr. Karambir Singh, Cecilia Sman (in maroon scarf), and Vivian A. Imang (representative from Miri Toastmasters).

some committee members of World Oceans Day Miri 2017

The organizing committee held a press conference on May 27 at Allamanda Conference Room, Miri Red Crescent Miri Chapter’s Training Institute.

WOD Miri 2017 press conference

In the News

My journalist friend Cecilia wrote about the upcoming event in The Borneo Post dated May 28, 2017 – Miri to celebrate World Oceans Day by Cecilia Sman.

several members of the press present during the WOD Miri 2017 pc

How Can Each of Us Give Back?

Please participate in World Oceans Day activities this year, and help protect our ocean. Try to get as many people as possible (young and old) to be involved in the activities – the more the merrier!

Let’s build an ocean literate society to inspire the next generation with a greater understanding of and appreciation for the oceans. Our people need to be aware of how important clean and healthy oceans are to our ecosystems.

It takes the effort of every single person to make sure that our oceans stay beautiful and healthy. We deserve clean and healthy oceans, so do our future generations.

10 Things You Can Do To Save The Ocean

7 principles of Ocean Literacy

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