PROTECT the CORAL REEFS
Updated: Aug 6, 2019
The Togian Island archipelago is blessed with beautiful coral reefs. You will find many amazing snorkel and diving spots and all four types of coral reefs: fringing, barrier, platform and atoll. Like everywhere in the world this beauty is in danger. We want to speak out and give you some information about how to protect the reefs.
Coral reefs are one of the world’s biggest and most diverse eco-systems, providing a home for at least 25% of underwater life. That is why they are called the RAINFOREST OF THE OCEAN. It´s the largest, from living beings, created structures on earth. Everyone who was lucky to dive or snorkel before in this kind of tropical oceans knows what an amazing big and different world lies under the surface. Crazy fact: only 5% of the oceans are discovered and yet seen by human kind. Of course, it´s in our and your interest to protect this beauty. But what can we do?
REASON OF REEF DESTRUCTION
To get an idea on how to protect the reefs and their inhabitants it is important to know what actually harms it. Reefs are very fragile, especially because they are highly sensitive to the conditions of the surrounding waters. It´s a long, sad story about how we treat(ed) our nature and how it is suffering from human activities.
There are diverse reasons why the coral reefs are in danger. Just to name a few:
global warming which raises the temperature of the water of the oceans
general pollution by industries (oil tank disasters, chemical pollution, ...)
pollution with micro-plastic (including the use of sun cream)
harmful fishing (for example with dynamite or poison)
SO WHAT CAN I DO NOW?
There are small things that you can do to protect the reefs during your time exploring them:
The first advice is maybe obvious for you but we still want to name it: Please do not step on or touch something under water. If you see other people stepping on corals, talk to them and friendly tell and explain them the results of walking on the reef.
Second - Sun cream is a also a big destructive factor, which is because of two reasons: a lot of creams contain micro plastic and the ingredients named Octinoxat and Oxybenzon which are poisoning for ocean living beings (and also not good for your health).14.000 tons of suns cream are ending up in our oceans every year harming fishes, coral reefs and some other ocean life. If you want to check if your preferred sun cream contains microplastic, check for this ingredients:
Acrylate Copolymer (AC), Acrylate Crosspolymer (ACS)
Polyamide (PA, Nylon-6, Nylon-12), Polyacrylate (PA), Polymethylmethacrylate (PMMA), Polyethylene (PE), Polyethylenterephthalate (PET), Polypropylene (PP), Polystyrene (PS) and Polyurethane (PUR)
We talked to our very nice guest Sally which read a lot about this topic and also tried out a few biodegradable sun creams. Here are the two products she advices, because they are biodegradable and not sticky and are easy absorbed by your skin: BIOSOLIS and ECO NATURKOSMETIK. Sally was an awesome passionate guest which managed to raise our awareness for this topic. So we would like to spread the word, because we also did not have any clue before this conversations. Another good alternative sun protection is to wear clothes – even snorkeling. There is lots of water clothing available which does a lot better job then sun cream could ever do.
The third thing to do is be cautious about what kind of fish you are buying. E.g. if you want to eat lobster don´t buy a small one, which was fished before growing up and had the possibility to multiply.
The fourth thing to do is to donate at a diving school or resort in case they have a coral planting program. More fun is to JOIN THEM if they are planning to build a coral nursery during your stay.
The Togian Islands are a national park, therefore you have to pay a fee to (150.000 IDR) enter the park. The national park office works together with local people and resorts to plant new corals within the park. The specialists from the office talk with locals about reef protection and explain why this is important. There are a few new coral gardens at the barrier reef close to the village Bomba (named Atoll) and Kadidiri island.