Want To Be An Eco-Volunteer In Malaysia? Here’s How!

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Ladies, it’s not hard to save the world.

Are you passionate about making a change but not sure how to contribute or where to start? Let these four women inspire you with their journeys while you take heed from them on the little things you can do to be on your way to greatness!

Ping Teo, 34

Full Time Engineer and Part Time Volunteer at Reef Check Malaysia

“I got my Ecodiver certification in May 2013 and did my first volunteer survey at Redang island in September that same year. At that time, I had already been scuba diving for about five years, but as a recreational diver, I only saw the ‘cool’ things underwater and did not see the full picture until after I started volunteering.

For example, a reef overrun with sea urchins could be an indicator of too much organic matter in the water (usually due to human pollution); while a reef that has turned white could mean coral bleaching as a result of water temperatures being too warm.

Reef Check volunteers like myself usually help to conduct coral reef surveys to monitor the health of coral reefs worldwide. We do this for the same mapped out sections of the reefs every year. The data is then compared against those from previous years to get a better idea of whether the reefs are declining or improving, and if it needs help for a specific problem (for example, fish bombing or an infestation of Crown of Thorns Starfish). Besides that, Reef Check also takes a more holistic approach to conservation, such as carrying out awareness programs. I’ve definitely seen some improvements as results of their efforts, particularly from the recycling program over at Pulau Tioman.

I have been on five surveys since 2013 and I’ve honestly learnt things most recreational divers don’t – like how corals have turf wars with each other, or that those scary black sea urchins you see everywhere are actually the good guys keeping the waters clear of algae. Diving might be different when you have an objective instead of just swimming around leisurely, but knowing how I’m able to make a difference is a really good feeling. It’s both a blessing and a curse; the blessing being able to recognize more opportunities to make a difference, the curse being able to notice problems where I never realised they existed before, and feeling like I’m still not doing enough. But overall it is a positive change.

Fun fact: Most of the volunteers at Reef Check are women. In fact, for my last survey, my team was an all-girls team!”

Reef Check Malaysia

Contact: 03-21615948

Email: [email protected]

Website: www.reefcheck.org.my

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