Hundreds to gather on Malaysia’s beaches, here’s why

Vacationers lounge on a beach in Port Dickson following the easing of restrictions due to Covid-19. (Bernama pic)

PETALING JAYA: Hundreds of Malaysians will descend on beaches all across the country on Sept 19 as part of a nationwide effort to clean up beaches in conjunction with International Coastal Clean-up Day.

Reef Check Malaysia (RCM) said the Covid-19 pandemic had brought about an increase in plastic pollution, with more single-use plastic being used and items such as gloves and face masks littered about.

“Even as the world battles this deadly pandemic and is focusing on staying safe and healthy, we have to address the issue of littering and increasing plastic pollution brought about by Covid-19.

“Now, more than ever, we are together apart for our communities and our ocean,” it said in a statement today.

Its nationwide beach clean-up last year saw some 11,900 volunteers gather nearly 37,000kg worth of rubbish, mostly comprising plastic bottles, food wrappers, cigarette butts, grocery bags and plastic bottle caps.

Volunteers collecting rubbish during Reef Check Malaysia’s clean-up initiative last year.

RCM said the decision to proceed with the effort during the pandemic was to ensure that the environment, and the responsibility to care for it, was not neglected.

It assured that the health and safety of volunteers would be prioritised, with clean-ups to adhere to the health authorities’ guidelines.

Precautionary measures such as screening procedures and social distancing will be observed in keeping with SOPs, it added.

Those interested in signing up for the initiative may do so at https://tinyurl.com/icc2020malaysia. Updates will be available at the Malaysians against Marine Debris Facebook group.

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