Preserving Paradise: Hari Alam Sekitar Negara 2023 Breathes New Life into Langkawi’s Coral Reefs

  • The Kedah Department of Environment, alongside Rakan Alam Sekitar, hosted a coral reef preservation and conservation initiative in conjunction with Hari Alam Sekitar Negara 2023.
  • Hari Alam Sekitar Negara 2023 is supported by BUILDS, YTL Cement’s CSR arm.

LANGKAWI, 25 October 2023 – The Kedah Department of Environment, alongside Rakan Alam Sekitar (RAS), celebrated Hari Alam Sekitar Negara 2023 (HASN 2023) at Jerumuk Island. The event is a collective commitment towards fostering community awareness and responsibility in preserving and conserving Langkawi’s marine ecosystem through a coral rack planting activity. HASN 2023 is supported by BUILDS, the CSR arm of YTL Cement, Malaysia’s largest building materials group.

The Director of Kedah’s Department of Environment, Puan Sharifah Zakiah Syed Sahab officiated the event. She expressed, “We recognise that it is our responsibility to care for our environment, through preserving and protecting our coral reefs. With that, the Department of Environment is fervently committed to nurture a stronger sense of appreciation for coral reefs among the community. Indeed, coral rack planting is no easy feat, and I would like to extend my gratitude to all our volunteers here today for their invaluable role in championing this year’s initiative. I would also like to express my gratitude to our strategic partner, YTL Cement for sponsoring the initiative and seeing through the success of today’s event.”

Restoring Langkawi’s Coral Reefs

Coral reefs are a crucial aspect of a thriving marine ecosystem with up to thousands of marine species living in a single reef. Beyond its biodiversity importance, coral reefs also provide coastal protection as reef structures act as a buffer against strong waves and floods. In Malaysia, coral reef ecosystems are often threatened due to pollution, unsustainable marine activities, and even rising ocean temperatures.

Recognising the importance of restoring coral reefs, 80 volunteers from the Kedah Department of Environment, the Environmental Partner Program, as well as YTL Cement representatives gathered at Jemuruk Island to carry out coral rack planting activities.

During the event, coral racks were built for volunteers to attach coral fragments or broken corals that were collected from the seabed. These racks provide the corals with a steady base to regrow in coral reef areas that have been degraded. This restoration method allows steady recovery of affected reefs in the absence of natural reef substrate that is typically required for coral reef cultivation

Within one hour, 30 racks were dropped into the ocean with the aid of local divers. These coral racks will be monitored by the Kedah Department of Environment to ensure healthy growth, with the aim of restoring the biodiversity of the affected areas.

Mr. S.Jayasimhan, Senior General Manager of Kedah Cement Sdn Bhd, a subsidiary of YTL Cement, shared, “Kedah Cement takes immense pride in building together with Langkawi community, as well as the state of Kedah since 1981. Over the years, we have been honoured to play a role in Langkawi’s development, directly and indirectly providing job opportunities among the local communities. At this year’s Hari Alam Sekitar Negara, we hope that our support will build a strong sense of urgency and responsibility in preserving Langkawi’s marine ecosystem and natural beauty. It is only through meaningful collaborations with the government and industry players that we can truly make a difference in Malaysia’s sustainable future.”