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Curtin geology students learn while making tomorrow better

Miri – 4 June 2018 – A group of 34 second-year Bachelor of Science in Applied Geology students of Curtin University Malaysia (Curtin Malaysia), recently visited the northern region of Labuan island on a weeklong field trip to conduct geological field surveys as part of their Field Geology Techniques unit.

Accompanying the students were eight academic staff members of the university’s Department of Applied Geology.

For the past few years, staff of the Department of Applied Geology have been bringing students to this region for field studies due to its interesting and well exposed, almost continuous rock sequences which form cliffs along the northern beaches of Labuan.

However, they have recently noticed an increase in the level of plastic pollution in the region. As a result, this year’s student group carried out a beach cleaning activity to collect plastic litter from the beaches for recycling with the support of the Palm Beach Resort and Spa where they were staying.

The resort’s operations manager, Amran bin Jaafar, arranged for all the collected plastic litter to be sent to a recycling centre in Labuan.

Associate Professor Dominique Dodge-Wan, who coordinated the activity, said she hoped such clean-up initiatives can be repeated and increased during future field trips to the area in line with the university’s motto, ‘Make Tomorrow Better’.  

According to Associate Professor Dodge-Wan, the bulk of the litter collected consisted of plastic drink bottles. All the drink bottles used by the group during the one-week stay were also collected for recycling.

She said the region is popular with tourists, and while the resort plays its part by actively clearing the beach fronting its property, the area covered by the Curtin geology survey is less visited and yet still heavily polluted. Hence the clean-up efforts were focused there.

“It is a small gesture which I hope we can repeat in coming years, to encourage our students to be aware of the issues faced by coastal communities and to become part of the solution – not part of the problem,” Associate Professor Dodge-Wan said.

Associate Professor Dodge-Wan previously carried out an assessment of beach litter in the Miri region and was a guest speaker at the 2017 World Ocean Day event in Miri to draw the public’s attention to the pressing issue of beach pollution caused by plastic litter.

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Curtin applied geology students examining rock details in the northern coast of Labuan where they carried out field surveys.

Operations Manager Amran Jaafar of Palm Beach Resort & Spa (5th from left) and Curtin students and academics with plastic waste they had collected for recycling.