ARC in collaboration with “Save Planet Earth” launched a special programme on marine and coastal protection in the Maldives. It commenced with a coastal afforestation programme aimed to mitigate the effects of coastal erosion in Dhiffushi, one of the islands most affected by coastal erosion in Kaafu Atoll.
The programme was carried out in partnership with of a number of organizations advocating for the conservation of the environment, including Moodhu Bulhaa Dive Centre, Beach Club, Aloha Ufaa, Club Kaafu, SDM Farming and Dhiffushi Council. Through this programme, all students from Lower Kindergarten to Grade 10 of Dhiffushi School had the opportunity to plant a tree on the shoreline.
Over 280 students planted 300 coastal plants that are commonly grown on the Maldivian shoreline, including Sea Lettuce (Magoo), Beach Cordia (Kaani), Coastal Ironwood (Kuredhi), Portia tree (Hirundhu) and Beach Heliotrope (Boashi), in addition to Coconut Palm Trees. Through this programme, children were educated on the importance of coastal afforestation to protect the shoreline from harsh winds, coastal surges and other natural disasters. Furthermore, children were also taught the importance of preserving seagrass and seeds from plants on the shoreline, to protect the coastal ecosystem.
The 3-day programme also included ocean awareness activities targeted at students of grades 6 to 10. Students learnt the importance of protecting marine and coastal ecosystems and participated in a snorkelling trip and an introductory discover dive. Additionally, to raise awareness on plastic pollution, one of the most pressing environmental issues globally, children participated in a nurdle-hunt activity on the beach and collected micro-plastics of approximately 5mm.
To cultivate an interest and love for the ocean and help them become agents of change, students were given the opportunity to take part in water sports activities such as sailing and stand-up paddle boarding and were also briefed on ocean-related career prospects in the Maldives.