Malaysia’s Rimbun Dahan Turtle Hatchery is under threat from erosion. The sanctuary, established by Pak Su Cherating, who died in 2018, is facing a crisis.
Tyres Bind Beach in Protection Scheme
Unprecedented erosion has been washing away the sands at the turtle hatchery putting the future of the turtles that the hatchery has fought hard to save, at risk.
Whilst tyre reefs are being hauled out of the oceans around the world, in Malaysia’s Pantai Chendor beachfront tyres may be the saviour as teams of volunteers from the centre lay out tyres and bind them together in an orderly fashion to help secure the sands at the beach.
As the tyre mats are laid out, they rapidly fill with sand that would otherwise be washed away. It is not pretty, but if it saves the beach, it also saves the turtles.
Farina Ashrin (Along), Farisa Azira (Angah) and Fadhil Izzuddin (Alang) continue the preservation work of their father.
Fadhil Izzuddin says; “"We've never faced such a huge erosion problem like this before.
"We can't afford to build expensive stone walls. Constructing barriers using used tyres is the cheapest way for us to manage the problem of those destructive waves that cause coastal erosion."
He adds; "It has become a race against time. If we do not do anything now, by the time the monsoon arrives at the end of the year, the erosion may reach the hatchery and wash away the eggs."
A lot of money has been spent by the team at Rimbun Dahan Turtle Hatchery on buying the eggs. If the eggs cannot be hatched, then the hatchlings will not be able to be released into the sea.
It is therefore imperative that the hatchery can still be where it is, until at least the hatchling release season is over.
A shore-protection structure using scrap tyres is, as Fadhil states, the most affordable means, considering that the Hatchery simply does not have the budget for anything more sophisticated.
After all, the Hatchery exists and has been able to run, thanks to kind donations from visitors, friends and also from the family's own pocket, he adds.
"We've never done anything like this because we've never faced such a serious erosion problem before. Do you know that the waves came with such force that the impact was felt all the way up to the interns' housing up there? It was like missiles!" exclaims Fadhil, pointing to the modest structure above us where the Hatchery's interns are housed.
The idea for using scrap tyres came out of the blue, admits Fadhil. He had gone to visit several jetties to see what they had put in place to combat the erosion problem.
After reflecting on what could be done on the tightest of budgets, he decided that used tyres could be the answer.
"I've seen something like this done along rivers. But for the beach, I am not sure," muses Fadhil, adding: "I recall seeing tyres floating in the water. During low tide, the tyres would just remain in place but there would be a lot of sand trapped inside. Some even had mangroves growing out of them. That made me think that perhaps I could adapt it for our Hatchery."
Source: Straits Times