Student volunteers raise green awareness at KL park

University students at the plogging event at KL Forest Eco Park.

THE light drizzle on a Saturday morning failed to dampen the spirits of some 90 university students who were committed to spending time outdoors doing good for the environment.

Arriving at the KL Forest Eco Park in Kuala Lumpur, students from Yayasan Universiti Kuala Lumpur and Kolej Universiti Islam Antarabangsa Selangor braved the morning chill to pick up litter strewn about the park.

Armed with plastic rubbish bags, they collected plastic bottles and discarded drink boxes at the 9ha tropical rainforest nestled in the heart of the city.

The initiative called plogging — an activity that combines brisk walks or jogs while picking up litter — was a joint corporate social responsibility between Solid Waste Management and Public Cleansing Corporation (SWCorp) and Lembaga Tabung Haji (TH).

SWCorp chief executive officer Ismail Mokhtar said the programme was to raise public awareness, especially among future graduates, on the need to dispose of rubbish responsibly.

“We want to instil the habit of keeping rubbish until it can be discarded at home if rubbish bins are not available outside.

“This is a popular spot among tourists and it is an eyesore to see rubbish strewn all over, especially plastic waste, among the greenery.

“We sought the permission of the Forestry Department before conducting this activity, ” he added.

Ismail said the programme was a continuation of a similar initiative it carried out last year with Perodua that focused on creating awareness among motorists on the importance of not littering roads.

“This programme will be expanded to people’s housing projects across the country where we will collect used cooking oil, food waste and other recyclable items, ” he added.

TH executive director (operation) Mustakim Mohamad said the student participants were members of its Kelab Taha U, who had opened an account with the Islamic-investment board.

“The club holds many activities, including educational and volunteering programmes for the students.

“These students were identified when they opened accounts via the mobile counters we placed at their respective university, ” he said.

Also present were SWCorp Federal Territories director Mohd Zahir Shari and Selangor and Federal Territories TH director Khairoddin Ahmad.

Separately, Ismail said SWCorp, which was under the Housing and Local Government Ministry, would embark on a campaign to encourage the wearing of reusable face masks.

He said the ministry would distribute reusable masks to schoolchildren from B40 communities across the country.

“This is because it is quite costly for parents to buy single-use masks for their children, ” said Ismail, who also reminded the public to dispose of their masks responsibly.

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