Cleanliness crucial to protect environment

SWM Environment Sdn Bhd workers sweeping up dead leaves and rubbish in Larkin, Johor Baru.

JOHOR BARU: The world will be a better place if more people played their part to protect the environment and keep beaches, rivers, forests and streets clean.

Iskandar Regional Development Authority (Irda) Environment vice-president Velerie Siambun, 44, said educating and creating more awareness among the people on the importance of maintaining the cleanliness of the environment should be a long-term process.

“Each of us have a role to play in protecting the environment, it is a shared responsibility,” she said in an interview in conjunction with World Cleanup Day 2020 today.

Velerie said while there are sufficient laws related to the environment in the country to penalise wrong-doers, efficient enforcement was needed.

“Every day should be a clean-up day to make the earth a better place for us,” she said.

Internet service provider agent Nur Shafar Mohamad, 36, said Malaysians needed to change their attitude and make the planet a conducive place for all.

“We can have all the laws to protect the environment but these will not be effective if we do not take responsibility to keep our surroundings clean,” he said.

Nur Shafar said Johor could learn from its closest neighbour Singapore on keeping the state clean.

“More gotong-royong activities should be organised regularly at local, district and state levels,” he said.

Council worker Nayem Mukub Ali, 23, said the roads in Johor Baru were much cleaner after the movement control order (MCO) was implemented on March 18 to contain the Covid-19 pandemic.

“The roads were free of litter and rubbish for three months as people were staying indoors because of the MCO,” he said.

He added that more waste was generated, with litter everywhere, when the conditional MCO started on May 4.

Irda vice-president (Key Results Area Steering) Daisy Harry, 51, said Johoreans could reduce solid waste by practising the 3R (reduce, reuse, recycle) concept in their daily life.

“The 3R concept is not something new as our parents and their parents were practising this during their time,” she said.

Daisy said the 3Rs would help to reduce solid waste and extend the lifespan of sanitary landfills.

She said educating preschoolers and students on the importance of protecting the environment should be done in a fun way.

Tailor Muhammad Umar Muhsin Mohd Salleh said while the public needed to change their attitude in keeping the environment clean, the authorities also needed to be more proactive.

“Provide enough rubbish bins at public places where there are crowds such as bus stops, taxi stands, recreational parks and pedestrian walkways,” he said.

Muhammad Umar said most of the time, the rubbish bins were overflowing and took days to be cleared.

He hoped people would stop throwing plastic into the sea and rivers as marine creatures such as turtles and sharks could mistake the plastic items for food.

World Cleanup Day is a civic movement, uniting 180 countries and millions of people across the world to clean up the earth in one day.

Volunteers and partners worldwide come together to rid the earth of trash and this world-changing idea began in Estonia in 2008.

Some 50,000 people united to clean up the country in just five hours.

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