KOTA KINABALU: Dubbed one of the dirtiest districts in Sabah, Semporna is determined to clean up its act.
This came after a directive from Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal for the authorities to clean up the mess.
Home of the renowned diving haven of Pulau Sipadan, Semporna has always been under incessant fire from both international and local tourists, complaining about the poor sanitary conditions around the district and its small town.
Semporna district officer Bianus Kontong said an action plan was launched to clean up the district and turn the bustling tourism and fisheries district into one of the cleanest by March next year.
“Concerted efforts are being done on the ground with the help of NGOs,” he said when contacted.
“So far, we have cleaned up the main town areas before moving to other parts,” he added.
Kontong said immediate action was taken with the help of a local NGO – Trash Hero Borneo – to clean up main areas in town after Mohd Shafie launched the “Litter Free Sabah” campaign recently.
He said over the next three months, similar campaigns, as well as public awareness programmes, will be carried out in all 60 villages on the mainland and 40 villages on the islands.
“Our toughest challenge is getting people to cooperate. They are so used to throwing rubbish so we need to inculcate a mindset change,” he said.
The district council would soon enforce the anti-litter by-laws that provides a maximum compound fine of RM500.
Kontong said in the town area, 18 councillors were allocated certain blocks and they were tasked to ensure the cleanliness there.
Last week, Mohd Shafie, who is Semporna MP, said Semporna should be known for its “natural beauty”.
“But rubbish is everywhere, on land and at sea,” he said.