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Tuesday August 27, 2013 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Tuesday August 27, 2013 MYT 9:31:15 AM
by ruben sario
St Bart students collecting a tyre trapped on a log at the river
KOTA KINABALU: A clean-up effort by a group of British youths of the Sungai Kinabatangan has revealed the magnitude of the garbage problem along Sabah’s longest waterway and one of the most wildlife rich areas in the state.
The 14 students of St Bart’s College in Newbury scooped up more than 270kg of rubbish during the five-hour clean-up that was part of their visit to the Kinabatangan region from Aug 3 to 9 including research NGO Danau Girang Field Centre (DGFC).
The waste including plastic bottles, polystyrene packaging, petrol jerry cans, glass bottles, aerosol cans, cosmetic products, a rubber tire and even two bags of dirty nappies were enough to fill up to 37 garbage bags.
DGFC director Dr Benoit Goosens said it was disheartening to see the volume of garbage in the river that cuts through the Lower Kinabatangan Wildlife Sanctuary.
“Animals within the sanctuary, which include elephants, crocodiles, primates, birds, and many other species, could be injured by such pollution directly or indirectly by the chemicals leaching into the ecosystem,” he said.
He said Sabah needed to come up with a plan for waste disposal and increase awareness and enforcement in the State, if we want to improve the conditions of the state’s rivers.
DGFC PhD research students Luke Evant noted that the wildlife sanctuary was established to protect the high biodiversity along this river but added “yet we still fight against very preventable pollution.”
“It was absolutely astounding to see the huge amount and variety of rubbish the students collected in mere five hours. It makes a strong statement about how much more work needs to be done to protect this amazing place,” added Danica Stark, also a PhD student at Danau Girang Field Centre.
The visit by the St Bart’s College students was part of a biology field course run through Far Frontiers Expeditions.
Three St. Bart’s instructors, one leader from Far Frontiers Expeditions, and one local guide from FieldSkills, a wilderness adventure and training organisation based in Kota Kinabalu, accompanied the students on their Bornean journey.
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Environment, East Malaysia
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