PETALING JAYA: A clean-up of more than 100 coastal locations during the 33rd International Coastal Clean-up (ICC) Day saw almost 37,000 kg of rubbish removed from Malaysian beaches.
The most common items collected were plastic beverage bottles, food wrappers, cigarette butts, plastic grocery bags and plastic bottle caps.
A total of 137,865 plastic beverage bottles, 44,621 plastic grocery bags, and 77,075 food wrappers were collected during the clean-up.
These items were similar to what was collected in previous years.
The ICC is the world's biggest annual volunteer effort to protect the oceans, as millions of people around the world gather to collect trash along beaches and record information on the types of trash they collect.
Almost 12,000 volunteers participated in the clean-up at more than 100 locations on Sep 21, although there were cancellations at some locations because of the haze.
Reef Check Malaysia (RCM) organised the event here together with Yinson Holdings Berhad, Coca-Cola and Trash Hero Malaysia.
The rubbish was later collected by local councils or waste management contractors.
On this year's clean-up, RCM general manager Julian Hyde said that it was rewarding that more people volunteered for the clean-up this year compared to last year
"Marine debris has a widespread impact on life in the ocean, and much of it is plastic and other trash that we discard without thinking," he said.
Hyde added that awareness about the problem had be raised to a new level so that the government took note and took action to handle it.
Meanwhile RCM said in a press release on Tuesday (Oct 1) that some organizers have not recorded the number of individual items, as some locations had a lot of trash and it was very difficult to count them.
These volunteers had to shovel the trash along the beach into bags instead of picking them up one by one.
According to Ocean Conservancy, 75% of land-based ocean plastic is from uncollected waste that makes its way to waterways before eventually reaching the ocean.
It has been reported that Energy, Science, Technology, Environment and Climate Change Minister Yeo Bee Yin has said Malaysia was aiming to do away with single-use plastic by 2030.