GEORGE TOWN: Almost 800kg of garbage, mostly single-use plastic, has been removed from Pulau Gazumbo by a group of volunteers aiming to raise awareness about protecting the environment.
The 80 volunteers from KD Sri Pinang (the training centre for navy reserve units), Penang Chinese Chamber of Commerce (PCCC) (Young Entrepreneur Section) and Generasi Wawasan Pulau Pinang Organisation spent almost two hours scouring the sand island off Penang Bridge, to remove garbage that had washed up on the island’s shore.
Penang Island City Council (MBPP) councillor Wong Yuee Harng said the event, dubbed “The Great Gazumbo Island Cleanup Mission”, saw volunteers collecting 682kg of recyclable and 108kg of non-recyclable materials yesterday.
“Among this were 682 bags of plastic bottles, which came up to a total of 34,100 bottles with 50 in each bag,” he said.
He added that the objective of the event, held in conjunction with World Cleanup Day 2022, was to drive home the message that everyone is responsible for caring for the environment.
“This event is also to create awareness within the community on the importance of reducing the use of single-use plastic,” Wong said.
Other items collected included glass and polystyrene.
MBPP mayor Datuk Yew Tung Seang said the large volume of garbage dumped in the open poses a threat to the environment, adding that plastic breaks down into microplastics that are consumed by marine life, and subsequently by humans.
“We urge everyone to be responsible with the garbage they produce,” he said.
Also present were Region 1 Marine Police deputy commander Supt Mohd Rohizan Mohd Saaid, KD Sri Pinang commanding officer Comm Lui Poh Lin, PCCC (Young Entrepreneur Section) deputy chairman Chris Tan, and Generasi Wawasan Pulau Pinang chairman Tan Jia Yi.
Pulau Gazumbo, located next to Penang Bridge, was formed from sand build-ups while the bridge was being built from 1983 to 1986.
Over the years, the 3ha man-made island has become an eyesore with large amounts of garbage washed ashore.
Strewn about: Wong (left) and some volunteers picking up rubbish that was washed ashore.