PETALING JAYA: Some 100 participants took part in a clean-up of the Teluk Bidara beach in Dungun, Terengganu, collecting a total of 664.1kg of trash along the 1km coastline within an hour.
The participants, including those from government agencies and NGOs, rolled up their sleeves for the event on Saturday, which was held in conjunction with World Ocean Day that falls on June 8 every year.
The activity was jointly organised by several groups, including the Lang Tengah Turtle Watch, the Turtle Conservation Society of Malaysia, Geng Plastik Ija, ADA Biotech, ZUS Coffee, Tanjong Jara Resort and Precious Plastic Malaysia, with the support of Miracle Spectrum Sdn Bhd, which sponsored the biodegradable plastic bags used for the event.
Of the total amount of trash collected, 367.7kg was made up of recyclable items such as plastic bottles, plastic cups and metal cans, all of which were sent for recycling.
The remaining 296.4kg was non-recyclable waste including polystyrene, fishing lines, nets, traps and ropes and disposable masks.
According to Long Seh Ling, the principal officer of Lang Tengah Turtle Watch, the Teluk Bidara beach is among the few turtle nesting beaches in Terengganu.
“The green turtle (Chelonia mydas) and the painted terrapin (Batagur borneoensis) nest on this beach,” she said.
The former is listed in the IUCN Red List as endangered while the latter is critically endangered.
“In 2021, 59 green turtle nests and 13 painted terrapins from this beach were relocated to the Lang Tengah Turtle Watch’s hatchery at the Tanjong Jara Resort.
“Marine debris that washes up on the beach could prevent female turtles from laying their eggs.
“It also poses a hazard to hatchlings as they make their way to the ocean.
“Regular beach clean-ups are essential in removing debris on nesting beaches, and have a positive impact on the turtles,” she said.
Besides promoting clean beaches, the programme is also aimed at increasing the awareness of the impact of single-use plastics on the marine environment, with most plastics in the ocean expected to remain intact for decades while others may disintegrate into micro plastics.
To reduce single-use plastics during the event, refreshments were served on paper cups and plates, with ADA Biotech and ZUS Coffee providing rice straws.
Precious Plastic also demonstrated how certain types of used plastic could be transformed into products such as chairs, medals and pendants.
“Celebrating our world’s ocean for its crucial role in all lives does not have to be a one-day feat.
“To ensure the sustainability of the oceans, there are many ways to do so in our daily lives,” said Long.
The theme for World Ocean Day 2022 was Revitalisation: Collective Action for the Ocean.