The 1 Nation Coral Revival event kicks off in Villimale’
Save the Beach, in partnership with the Ministry of Environment and Energy, the Maldives Marketing and Public Relations Corporation and Nine Star Diving, inaugurated the 1 Nation Coral Revival event with a ceremony on Villimale’ beach yesterday.
The two-day event, which was initially meant to fall on Environment Day on June 5th but was postponed due to bad weather, seeks to raise awareness about marine conservation. Over the course of the two days, the event is conducting coral transplantions on the island’s house reef, hosting exhibitors from all sections of the conservation field and providing fun and varied activities.
Stakeholders from across the conservation, dive and water sports fields have volunteered time to make the event a success. Speaking to Hotelier Maldives, Ashraf, an instructor at Dive Desk, a local dive school participating in the event, explained that the team rescued corals from a reef in ‘Uthuru Thila Falhi’, and brought them to Villimale’ over the course of three to four days. The Save the Beach team, created a symbolic structure in the shape of the number ‘one’, to represent the ‘One Nation Coral Revival’ event. Volunteers at the event transplanted corals on the structure and the divers proceeded to plant the structure underwater.
Organisations such as the Manta Trust Foundation, the Olive Ridley Project, dive schools from the resorts and Male’, the Marine Research Centre, UNDP, Maldivian Whale Shark Research Program, and different schools are taking part, each offering visitors unique activities and information in the ‘awareness tents’. The topics included preserving the environment, the damages the people are unknowingly doing to the corals, and how to best enjoy and protect the underwater habitats without harming the corals and the fish.
Speaking at the opening ceremony, the Minister of Environment and Energy, Mr. Thoriq Ibrahim congratulated the Save the Beach team on taking the initiative in organising such a successful event.
The Minister of Tourism Mr. Ahmed Adeeb, who also spoke at the ceremony said the biggest asset of the Maldives is the beautiful environment surrounding the islands, and it is the responsibility of each individual to protect the environment. The minister also added that he believed that conserving the environment is essential to sustaining the development of the country.
Clare Baranowski, from the Manta Trust, said “We work with lots of different hotels, and free divers, and today we’re here giving information about the Manta population in the Maldives – which has the biggest resident manta population.” She continued: “We’re also doing questionnaires and aiming at creating more awareness about the species.”
Jesse Carrizzo, from the Olive Ridley Project said, “What we are trying to do is fight ghost nets that are in the Indian Ocean. So we’re trying to promote awareness, research and to encourage people to collect these ‘ghost’ nets.” He continued: “Sea life gets tangled in these nets and die, so what we do is try to collect them and do our measurements, and figure out where and how they got there. An event like this is the ideal place for us to spread more awareness on ghost nets.”
Mahufooz Abdul Wahhab, representing Seamarc, a marine consultancy company operating in several resorts, explained the necessity of participating in such an event was to explain the harms of coral bleaching and littering.
The 1 Nation Coral Revival event will continue until tonight in Villimale’ and interested parties can still catch the awareness programs at the stalls till the end of the day, 7th June.