TIOMAN: Berjaya Corporation (Berjaya Corp) recently took environmental sustainability to a new level by starting a "Shelter in the Sea for Marine Life" coral reef programme. The RM200,000 project saw the laying of 67 concrete pipes, ranging from one to two metres in diameter, on the seabed between Berjaya Tioman Resort Dive Centre and Renggis Island off Johor. Berjaya Group founder Tan Sri Vincent Tan, who put on a wetsuit to personally witness the laying of the pipes on the seabed, said the structures will encourage coral growth and also provide protection for marine life. "We will also plant small corals on the pipes to generate faster growth. I believe it will help enhance Tioman's beauty, protect the fishes and enhance activities for divers here. "We all like to dive through caves and tunnels, and using these pipes as 'artificial tunnels' could be the closest that one can get to diving through caves," he told reporters here on Saturday. Tan, who has been diving since 1985, said the results of the project will be gauged over the next few of years. He said although most environmentalists do not see eye-to-eye on developments at sea, projects like this can be good for the environment if enough efforts were taken. "Environmentalists are often against development. They should dive more, see and understand for themselves the situation. In fact, a hundred years from now, the water here will still be very nice. I think it is okay if we take efforts to care for this island," he added. The six-acre project, which is between eight and 11m, is said to provide a suitable habitat for algae and invertebrates, which in turn will create a sustainable ecosystem. The strategic location of the project site near to the dive centre will also enable experts to monitor coral growth easily and plan further restoration programmes in future. A survey by Reef Check Malaysia in 2014 found that the condition of coral reefs around Tioman Island is generally in good form, but faces various threats such as warm water bleaching and human factors like illegal fishing and irresponsible tourist behaviour. Also present during the pipes-laying event were Tan's sons, Berjaya Corp chairman and CEO Datuk Seri Robin Tan and 7-Eleven Malaysia Holdings Berhad executive director Tan U-Ming.