Zero waste movement gains traction in Sabah


KOTA KINABALU: An environment-care motivated group aimed at living with zero waste is gaining momentum in Sabah.

Inspired by the movement and mission of its founders in the peninsula, marine biologist and conservator Ruth Yap took it upon herself to bring the Zero Waste movement to Sabah.

“Sabah is a very beautiful land. It will be a pity if we do not do something today to protect it for the future generation, ” she said.

Calling themselves members of Zero Waste Sabah, the group shares about how they go about their daily lives doing even the smallest things to help contribute to the cause.

Some bring their own containers when buying takeaway food or own containers and cups when ordering boba tea, while others share about how they use banana leaves to wrap food and other stuff.

In less than a year, the Zero Waste Sabah group has garnered more than 6,000 environmentally-conscious members, and the number is growing by the day.

Prior to the setting up of the group, Yap worked with Reef Check Malaysia, an NGO that does coral reef conservation, upon graduating with a first-class honours Bachelor’s degree in Marine Science.

“While working with Reef Check Malaysia, I saw the negative impact of tourism activities on islands and the environment, ” she said, adding that the level of awareness of environment care was still very low in Sabah.

She said when she came back to Sabah, she saw the problem of waste management and many times felt powerless as when she asked people about this, they would often blame the government or others but not themselves.

Having also worked in New Zealand for quite some time, Yap said the waste management system there worked so well due to the local council’s ability to get the people to segregate household waste.

By end of 2018, she started the Zero Waste Sabah Facebook page and managed to get members to also do their part to save the environment while getting others to join in and hopefully, learn a thing or two from nations that make this work.

Yap said the zero waste lifestyle applied the 5R principles – refuse, reduce, reuse, recycle and rothe – to among others, reduce household waste.

Zero Waste Sabah was successfully registered as a non-profit organisation under the Registrar of Societies in August 2019, aiming to advocate this sustainable lifestyle throughout Sabah.

The body depends on public donations to organise zero waste awareness and educational activities.

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