About two hundred volunteers ranging from local communities and students gathered at Kampung PPRT Hujung Kelawai to spend one Saturday morning in December by participating in beach clean-up activities in partnership with Vale in Malaysia and University of Queensland Australia. Organised by Global Environment Centre (GEC) together with District and Land Office of Manjung, Department of Irrigation and Drainage Perak & Manjung, Manjung District Council SWCorp, and Perak Tourism, the clean-up activity is part of an ongoing community based waste management project in Pangkor Island that is currently being executed by GEC and partners.
The volunteers scoured the beach for an hour and a half, collecting more than 5 large garbage bags, mainly consisting of plastic packaging items, plastic bottles and Styrofoam which is a direct threat to shorebirds and marine life once it reaches the water.
“Due to its lightweight characteristic, plastic are easily ‘flown’ from our hands, onto the streets, into the drains and end up in waterways,” said Dr Kalithasan Kailasam, Project Coordinator of GEC. He added that littering is a behavioural issue and emphasized long-term educational campaigns as a must to change attitudes.
Participants also took part in sorting the rubbish into recyclable and non-recyclable items and were given hands-on training on the correct manner to dispose the recyclables at home. The participants also planted 20 trees to beautify the area.
According to Andre Kopperschmidt, Country Manager for Vale in Malaysia, “We are very happy to be a part of this activity to do a good cause and I believe that this should not be a one-off activity; all of us can do our part every day to dispose wastes responsibly and practise recycling to keep our environment clean”.
Closing ceremony of the event was officiated by Tuan Mohamad Fariz Bin Mohamad Hanip, Manjung District Officer. He said “This clean-up activity is in line with our ambition to make Pangkor Island clean and eco friendly. We thank the local community for their willingness to participate and Vale in Malaysia and GEC for their support in implementing a community based waste management project.”
The event also saw the launch of Pangkor Island River Map that aimed to introduce the origin of Pangkor Island River to the public and to be used as a tool to identify potential locations for ecotourism activity on Pangkor Island.