COASTAL CLEAN-UP? CLEAN A MANGROVE!

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BY CHEE SU YIN

MALAYSIA is blessed with wide spans of mangroves lining our coastlines. These emerald green ecosystems are unique to the tropics and is home to diverse forms of flora and fauna. Fishes, crabs, prawns, and other marine animals find habitat, feeding and breeding grounds and a safe haven beneath the water amongst the complex system of mangrove roots and in the muddy soil, as monkeys, birds and snakes would among the canopies of these majestic trees. Flourishing in narrow belt between land and sea the forests provide oxygen we breathe, food we eat, and water we drink. They regulate the climate, control the spread of diseases, and provides spiritual and recreational benefits to human beings. Additionally, they protect coastlines from erosion, storm surges, and natural disasters such as the tsunami. They are also known as natural carbon sinks which absorbs greenhouse gasses like carbon dioxide, out of the atmosphere and storing it in the trees and soil for many years.