Penang’s World Cleanup Day 2018
15 September 2018
- LOVE and care for nature saw about 1,100 volunteers picking up 1.5 tonnes of rubbish along the coastal area near Queensbay Mall and the second Penang Bridge.
Cigarette butts, straws and plastic bags topped the list of waste collected during Penang’s World Cleanup Day 2018 on Saturday.
Volunteers comprising working professionals, students and passers-by managed to scoop up 1,539kg of trash within two hours.
Among them was retiree Martin Oh, 65, who was glad to be part of the meaningful experience.
The event, organised by Universiti Sains Malaysia’s (USM) Centre for Marine & Coastal Studies (Cemacs) and Cosmopolitan Homes, was supported by the Penang government.
The volunteers were divided into three zones — Queensbay Mall open car park beside the fun fair to Kompleks Selera Sri Pantai (Zone A); from the food complex to the river in front of Plexus (Zone B); and from the river to FCN Northern C-P Bayan Lepas (Zone C).
State Housing, Town, Country Planning and Local Government Committee chairman Jagdeep Singh Deo said the event was a positive move.
USM’s Cemacs director Prof Datuk Dr Aileen Tan said the event was held to mark the World Cleanup Day, which is celebrated globally on the same day.
“Beach and coastal cleanup is quite common these days.
“This project is unique because it would be able to position our effort globally,” she said, adding that she would submit the figure on the amount of trash collected to the International Coastal Cleanup of Ocean Conservancy.
She said the data had been shared online with the world as 155 countries worldwide were also celebrating World Cleanup Day.
Some 68 JCI chapters were also involved in running the cleanup campaign simultaneously throughout the country.
Other co-organisers include JCI Georgetown, Rehda Youth, JCI Penang, Eastern & Oriental Berhad, JCI Elite, Agilent and JCI Entrepreneur Metropolitan.
On the mainland, volunteers managed to collect two tonnes of solid waste at five locations within two hours on the same day.
Seberang Prai Municipal Council (MPSP) president Datuk Rozali Mohamud was upset with the amount of rubbish collected, claiming that some of them could be recycled.
“This shows that the awareness to reduce solid waste through recycling is still low among the public,” he said during the World Cleanup Day 2018 Programme at the Juru Auto-City near Bukit Mertajam.
The event was jointly organised by the council and Junior Chamber International Area Peninsular North.
Rozali said the MPSP had been collecting waste from house to house on alternate days or three times a week, in addition to the collection from communal bins and public markets daily.
“We have also implemented the waste separation at source where collection of the recyclable items is done on every Saturday.
“Had we not carried out the cleanup, the waste could have gone into the drains when it rained.
“The public would accuse us of not clearing clogged drains then.
“Worse, the waste could have ended up in the sea and damaged the marine life,” he said.
Also present were JCI national executive vice-president Chew Hooi Mei, event organising committee chairman Vincent Tan Yeong Ming and MPSP Local Agenda 21 unit coordinator Chew Eng Seng.
Some 800 volunteers including 600 members from six JCI branches — JCI Batu Kawan, JCI Bukit Mertajam, JCI Pearl, JCI Butterworth City, JCI Prai and JCI United Penang — and residents from several housing estates were involved in the programme.
Pupils from five primary schools also came to help out in the event.