THE CORAL REEF REHABILITATION PROJECT CONTINUES
Off the coast of Indonesia, Mars Associates and their research partners have been working since 2007 to rebuild damaged sections of coral reef, a necessary natural wonder for the inhabitants of the island of Badi, who depend on the reef for their primary source of food: fish.
This coral reef, once a flourishing ecosystem that contributed to the livelihoods of local fishermen and economic success of the island, was destroyed by destructive fishing methods, such as bombing and cyanide poisoning, which are commonly practiced on the island to quickly kill fish. Over time, these destructive practices destroyed the coral reef, decreasing the fish population and even causing erosion of the land.
Mars Sustainable Solutions began the process of installing a new reef to restore the coral reef infrastructure in 2012. Divers, many of whom are Mars associates, work alongside locals to lay down coral rehabilitation elements called "spiders" on the sea floor, joining them together in a continuous web to form a viable and sustainable habitat for new fish and marine life. Approximately 7,000 square meters have been covered by this rehabilitation effort through Mars, and over 10,000 spiders have been installed.
Along with the effort to restore the coral reef, Mars has also provided several of their own products, such as API food and water conditioners, to aid in the overall health and growth of local fish.
Additionally, Mars has worked with the people of Badi to establish a Marine Protected Area, where fishing is prohibited, allowing the fish population to flourish as a future source of food without constant interruption. With the help of this protected area, fish populations surrounding the island have grown, improving food security for its inhabitants.
In addition to rebuilding the ecological foundation of food security for the island, the reef rehabilitation project also trains the people to take care of the reef and the sustainable ecosystem. The system is designed to be built largely by the island people themselves with help from expert divers, and provides additional income as Mars pays them to continue the development and maintenance of the project. Moreover, with the help of Mars, a learning center has been established on the island of Badi, and some of the local women are trained to be teachers to minimize dependence on outside educators.
Mars will continue to be involved with the people of Pulau Badi and the local government to ensure this work is successful, and believes in the potential to transfer this technology to neighboring islands and beyond. To date, this coral reef rehabilitation program is the biggest and most successful of its kind as Mars continues to push toward the goal of making a better underwater world.