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Brunei: Volunteers clean beaches, bathe turtles

Borneo Bulletin

A turtle being washed

By Aziz Idris / Borneo BulletinBANDAR SERI BEGAWAN — In conjunction with World Turtle Day, 25 volunteers held a beach cleanup and bathing of sea turtles at the Marine Biodiversity Centre in Meragang recently.

Spearheaded by Poni Divers, the objectives of the event were to increase awareness and respect for turtles and tortoises by encouraging public action in supporting the conservation and protection of these animals and their habitat, while creating awareness on conserving the marine and coastal environment.

Participants collected 47 kilograms’ worth of trash, including 517 cigarette butts. Other items included plastic bottles (133), plastic bottle caps (69), plastic straws (30), plastic/foam containers (77) and plastic bags (52).

According to Poni Divers Marine Conservation Coordinator Zafirah Morshidi, the rubbish was collected from a stretch of less than 250 meters of the beach.

As Brunei Darussalam has adopted the policy of no plastic bags for the whole week at major supermarkets, she encouraged citizens to go one step further by reducing the usage of single-use plastic materials, and have a proper disposal system for rubbish.

At the event, zero-waste advocate Bambooluh sponsored reusable bamboo straws that were presented as a token of appreciation to all participants.

The highlight of the day was the bathing of sea turtles and cleaning of their pools, allowing participants the opportunity to get close to these magnificent animals.

Brunei Darussalam is visited by three species of turtle — the hawksbill, olive ridley and green turtles.

On the list of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), hawksbill turtles are considered critically endangered, which means they are close to being extinct, with green turtles and olive ridleys being considered as endangered and vulnerable.Speech

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