There is every likelihood that our beautiful sandy beaches will be nonexistent in the distant future, as a result of coastal erosion. More and more stretches of beach are lost every year.
Tourists and scuba enthusiasts who have toured some of the country's scenic islands would have noticed the phenomenon.
Strong monsoon winds and high frequency waves, especially during the northeast monsoon which occurs between November and March, do a lot of damage to the nation's beaches.
The Science, Technology and Innovation Ministry (Mosti) has spent about RM20,000 (S$8,310) to install artificial reefs, known as cheese reefs, on the sea floor off Beach One, Sibu Island in Mersing.
This was done with the cooperation of Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM) and the Sibu Island Resort (SIR).
Ten artificial reefs were deployed and more are planned for the future.
Each unit, which is 15 metres long, weighs 800kg.
They were placed about 50 metres offshore to dissipate the wave energy to slow the process of beach erosion.
"We are deploying the reefs in stages to see the change in the marine life's growth and wave reactions," said senior UTM lecturer Dr Mohd Murtadha Mohamad, whose team designed the artificial reefs.
He said the cheese reefs had reduced the wave transmission by 60 per cent.
At the recent launch of the project at SIR, Mosti national oceanography directorate director Professor Dr Noraieini Mokhtar said the artificial reefs had made a direct impact on the fisheries by creating habitats for marine life around the islands.
Also present at the launch were UTM Offshore Engineering Institute director Professor Dr Ahmad Khairi Abd Wahab, Johor Corporation chief operating officer (hospitality division) Mohamad Mazlan Ali and SIR manager Abdul Latiff Sahat.
-New Straits Times