Cleaning up Cape Rachardo

By Ang Yih Yih, Tan Suat Lay & Tan Tuan Yee
Photos by Wayne De Rozario

August 12, 2006 marked the date for the Port Dickson Beach Cleanup, one of the main activities in the ‘Save Our Ocean’s Sacred Garden’ Campaign organized by 14 passionate final year students of Taylor’s School of Communication.

nstraineesEarly on Saturday morning, 150 enthusiastic trainees and students from Rachardo National Service Camp, University Tenaga Nasional and Taylor’s College turned out to participate in the beach cleanup. We were divided into 10 groups, each guided by a facilitator and gathered at the courtyard of Ilham Resort. After picking up garbage bags and gloves, we headed down to the beach and began the mission of cleaning up Tanjung Tuan’s Cape Rachardo.

The VIPs, Yang Mulia Tengku Idris Bin Tengku Hadi, the President of Majlis Perbandaran Port Dickson; Yang Mulia Raja Ahmad Murad bin Raja Bahrin, the Managing Director of Shell Refining Company, Port Dickson, Puan Fardzillah binti Abdul Manap, Shell’s Head of Corporate Affairs, Mr Loy Teik Inn, Senior Manager of Taylor’s College PJ and Serina Effendy and Leong Sze Wong from the Malaysian Nature Society’s Marine Group joined us in the beach cleanup as well. Our lecturers from Taylor’s College, Ms. Syireen Rose and Ms. Karamjeet Kaur also pitched in to pick up rubbish with the VIPs and students.

sortingthrashWithin an hour, we bagged more than 200kgs of trash. Although many interesting items turned up in our bags, the most collected items were plastic debris mainly made up of food wrappers, followed by cigarette filters, cigarette butts, styrofoam, straws, bottles and tins. This showed us that tourists’ recreational activities contribute largely to the pollution of the beach.

The beach cleanup not only made the beach looks more inviting; it helped to reduce serious harm caused by humans to coastal life. Whales, sea turtles, sea birds and fish are often lethally entangled in garbage such as discarded fishing lines or nets. Small pieces of styrofoam and balloons are often mistaken by marine animals for food. This effort to clean up the beach empowered us and allowed us to be active participants in the conservation of marine life.

There was a lot of hard work and tribulation as we organized this campaign and the beach cleanup, but the experience and knowledge we gained from the entire campaign is priceless. We realized how important it is for humans to take the utmost responsibility to conserve Mother Nature, which has been threatened by humans themselves for centuries.

The MNS Marine Group is working with these Taylor’s College students on their ‘Save our Ocean’s Sacred Garden’ Campaign. If you are a college or university student, look out for their invitation to join them in Redang this September.