JOHOR BARU: Every year thousands of people, mainly parents, throng the Royal Malaysian Navy's Recruit Training Centre (Pularek) in Tanjung Pengelih to witness the grand passing-out parade of new recruits.
After spending hours meeting their loved ones and visiting navy vessels at the base, many would visit the nearby beach outside the base in the Sungai Ringit area, to see the dozens of merchant ships anchored and waiting to enter Singaporean ports.
However, the beach area around Sungai Ringit and Teluk Ramunia, both in Pengerang, is littered with rubbish like plastic bags, wood, bags containing sludge, tin cans, bottles and animal carcasses.
To make matters worse, the local authorities there have no proper allocation to clean the beaches regularly. The beaches are only cleaned where there are oil spills.
Mohamad Abu Bakar, 31, who visited his relative during a recent graduation at Pularek, said he was shocked to find the beach looking like a dumpsite.
“We stopped by the beach on our way back from the base as my daughter insisted she wanted to see ships.
“We all got a shock with the amount of rubbish and also the stench,” he said, adding that the state government should have cleaned up the beaches as it was Visit Johor Year 2003.
Another visitor K. Sugumaran, 42, who stayed in Desaru and went to visit his relative in Pularek, said the state government should pay more attention on the cleanliness of all the beaches and not just the ones visited by tourists.
“I noticed the beaches in Tanjung Balau and Desaru are well maintained but the ones near the naval base have been totally neglected.
“My friends told me that Sungai Ringit is famous for its chilli stir-fried lobsters but unfortunately my stroll along the beach after lunch spoilt my visit to the town,” he said, adding that the locals should organise gotong royong regularly to clean up the beaches.
A trader at the Sungai Ringit hawker centre, Minah, said people had been complaining about the dirty beaches in the area for a long time.
Minah said most of the rubbish was washed ashore during low tide and the last time the beach was cleaned up was several months ago.
“Within days after the beach was cleaned, the tides start bringing in the rubbish,” she said. There are 16 shops operating in the centre.
Minah, who has been living in the area for 20 years, said most of the residents there believed that the rubbish was from all the merchant ships anchored out at sea, waiting to enter Singapore daily.
“Everyday there are about 50 to 100 ships anchored which are at sea for some time,” she said, adding that business had dropped in recent years.
Penghulu Mukim Pantai Timur Mohd Safie Amat said he had received complaints about the beaches and would bring up the matter with the authorities.
“In the past we have hired local residents to clean up the beaches with the assistance of tractors from private contractors,” he said. Sungai Ringit has a population of about 10,000 people.
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