Curtin applied geology students conduct research while cleaning up ‘Fossil Beach’

Miri – 17 November 2015 – Three Curtin University, Sarawak Malaysia (Curtin Sarawak) applied geology students recently took part in a beach clean-up organised by the Miri Photographic Society at Tusan Beach on the southern outskirts of Miri.

Over the years, Tusan Beach has been nicknamed ‘Fossil Beach’ by Curtin Sarawak’s geology students due to its spectacular tilted sedimentary rocks, ripple marks and fossils.

Students Singgih Aditama, Haris Irianto, and Imtiaz Atsarina, who are part of the Curtin Undergraduate Research Opportunity Programme (UROP), conducted a beach litter survey under the guidance of Associate Professor Dr. Dominique Dodge-Wan as part of their contribution to a wider initiative by Dr. Dodge-Wan to study the composition and fluxes of litter in the region.

As part of the study, they carried out a litter diversity and quantification survey covering two sites at Tusan. A hundred-metre length of beach was surveyed for each site.

Upon analysis, the litter was separated into 12 categories, with plastic being the main composition. Small plastic bottles were found in abundance from an average 10-by-10 metre band of beach.

“It is distressing to see our favourite geological site littered to such an extent. It however motivated us to work harder to keep the litter away from the beach. Three large bags of litter was collected and brought to the cliff top for removal by the organisers,” related Dr. Dodge-Wan.

Results of preliminary research into beach litter in the Lutong-Piasau area was presented by Dr. Dodge Wan and Mairead Boland of the Malaysian Nature Society, Miri Branch, at the Curtin University Technology, Science and Engineering (CUTSE) International Conference 2015 that same week.

The information gathered by the Curtin Sarawak students during the beach clean-up will be integrated into an ongoing, wider-reaching survey in Northern Sarawak.

Since the occurrence of bioluminescent water at Tusan Beach, the beach has become a popular recreation area. In line with Curtin University’s commitment to “make tomorrow better”, the students have pledged to continue contributing to nature to prevent the site from further damage.

For more information on Curtin Sarawak, visit its website at, its Facebook page (CurtinUniversitySarawakMalaysia), Twitter profile (curtinsarawak), YouTube channel (CurtinUniSarawak), or Instagram (curtinsarawak).

Dr. Dominique Dodge-Wan (left) and students collecting and analysing litter.

Share this