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Curtin geology students care for our Earth

Miri – 3 May 2019 - A group of 28 Curtin University Malaysia (Curtin Malaysia) students studying Applied Geology took part in a field trip in the northern region of Labuan recently.

The trip was designed to broaden the students’ experience in observing sedimentary rocks in the field and learning mapping techniques.

They were accompanied by five staff members from the Department of Applied Geology at Curtin Malaysia’s Faculty of Engineering and Science - Associate Professor Dominique Dodge-Wan, who was the trip coordinator; Head of Department Associate Professor M.V. Prasanna; Associate Dean of Research and Development Professor Ramasamy Nagarajan; Programme Coordinator Dr. Joel Ben Awuah, and associate lecturer Vivian Anak Dayong.

During their five days of field surveys, in addition to observing rocks and structures, the students and staff organised a team beach clean-up activity. They collected and removed over 10 large bags of plastic rubbish found in all the coastal sites surveyed.

The effort was motivated by the Curtin University motto Make Tomorrow Better and the World Earth Day which fell on 22 April 2019. They were assisted by hotel staff from the Palm Beach Resort and Spa, who helped store the rubbish and forward it for recycling, together with other plastic waste.

“Our students are fully aware of the negative consequences of plastic pollution in the oceans and this was one small gesture in an area of great natural beauty and geological interest,” said Associate Professor Dodge-Wan.

She said that Curtin Malaysia’s geology students are taught about the negative impacts of industrial development in the last few hundred years and climate change, as well as the need for sustainability. The clean-up activity was just a small gesture on their part to help remove, recycle and reuse plastics which otherwise pollute both land and sea.

Associate Professor Dodge-Wan added that everyone can contribute to preserving the environment by adopting environmentally-friendly practices, particularly in the use of plastics and other non-biodegradable materials.

“We noticed that the bulk of the plastic rubbish consisted of single-use drinking water bottles,” she remarked.

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.

The four-year Bachelor of Science (Honours) in Applied Geology offered at Curtin Malaysia, which is the same as that offered at Curtin’s main campus in Perth, Western Australia, combines a thorough grounding in theoretical and practical geology with technical and commercial skills.

Students gain theoretical, laboratory and field skills required to understand geological processes, in addition to comprehensive study of all applied disciplines of geology, including basin analysis and petroleum systems, formation evaluation, petroleum engineering and sustainable development, and tectonics and dynamic Earth. In their honours year, they focus on independent dissertations and courses in geoscience professional practice and petroleum engineering.

For more information on Curtin Malaysia, visit its website (, its Facebook page (CurtinMalaysia), Twitter profile (curtinmalaysia), Instagram (curtinmalaysia), YouTube channel (Curtin Malaysia) or LinkedIn page (Curtin Malaysia).

Students collecting plastic litter from rocky coast in northern Labuan at end of day of geological field mapping.

Over 10 bags of plastic rubbish were collected during the clean-up activity.

Group photo of Curtin students and staff with Palm Beach Resort and Spa staff who helped with the beach clean-up activity.