The Phaserl


This Gigantic New Marine Park Protects Countless Species and Spans 50 Islands

by Christina Sarich, Underground Reporter:

While many countries continue to allow the mindless degradation of our oceans, Malaysia just revealed a massive, million-hectare (over 2.3 million acres) marine park, which will give hundreds of endangered species a chance for survival.

Tun Mustapha Park (TMP) was envisioned just a few years ago at a once-a-decade global forum on protecting the natural environment. The park has since been realized, and now protects the habitat for numerous coral reefs, mangroves, seagrasses, and valuable fishing grounds spread over 50 islands.

The million-hectare park has come a long way from humble beginnings and the intent of a few dozen people to protect marine life. Turtle Islands Park, covering 1,740-hectares in Sandakan, was once an important nesting ground for hawksbill and green turtles; but it was built in 1977, and activists realized a much wider scope of conservancy was needed. Tun Mustapha park now represents true community activism that will benefit more than 300,000 people and countless animals, vegetation, and marine creatures.

The World Wildlife Federation states that TMP is positioned “in the Coral Triangle which is a 6 million-km2 marine area that directly sustains and protects more than 120 million people in coastal communities across Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, and Timor-Leste.”

In the U.S., approximately ten percent of our land and oceans, combined, are considered ‘protected areas,’ with only 1 percent of our surrounding oceans falling under this type of care. This means that, unlike Malaysia’s TMP, our oceans are subject to over-fishing, plastic contamination, recreational boating, industrial chemical dumping, agricultural run-offoil spills, and other habitat-degrading activities. Sadly, a whopping 80 percent of ocean contamination comes from activities that occur on land.

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