In 2011, the Maritime Institute of Malaysia (MIMA) carried out a study with the assistance of the Malaysian Nature Society (MNS) to assess the cleanliness of Malaysia’s coastal areas by using the Clean Coast Index developed by MIMA. The 65-page report of this study is curiously interesting, and we have selected relevant excerpts, with permission from MIMA, to be published here in 4-parts.
Application of the Clean Coast Index for Cleanliness Assessment of Coastal Areas in Malaysia
By Roa’a Hagir, Mahmudah Ahmad Luthfi and Eric Chong
The main challenge that Malaysia faces in managing coastal litter is whether the contractors will perform well under the new privatization. Trash from far inland can travel to the ocean by wind or carried on lakes, rivers and streams. Clean-up measures should therefore be extended to not only the shorelines but also the roads, parking lots and nearest eateries. CCI could be used as a tool to provide a roadmap for reducing marine litter by addressing the issue from its source and formulate more effective policies on solid waste management in the country. A few recommendations are made based on the outcomes of this study:
- Adopting a socio-enviro-economic policy by turning waste into resources
The prospect of turning waste into valuable resource is one way to minimise waste disposal. The immediate effect of the proposed “Indifferent Consumers-Pay” (ICP) Principle and its application as a socio-enviro-economic Policy Instrument would be that litter would be picked up by “poor” souls (A. Bakar Jaafar, 2001). This principle will add value to wastes that have been produced by turning it into valuable resources.
- To publish the Index in government websites
By publishing and updating the index every month or on a quarterly basis, this would create transparency on actual coastal cleanliness in the country (in this case, at the recreational beaches). This will influence the designated concessionaires to be more competitive in their tasks of maintaining the cleanliness of the coastal areas under their jurisdictions.
- Identify the source of litter
Thorough study is required to identify the sources of marine litter in Malaysia in order to formulate better waste management strategies on the issue.
- Stricter enforcement against polluters
Polluters should be made responsible for the litters they produce. Fines should be given immediately upon the act of discarding litter at the beach as a reminder to the polluter, as well as to other visitors.
- Consistent clean-ups
Consistent daily clean-ups are required at the beaches in order to keep these areas clean, and to attract tourists.
- Frequent monitoring
Under the Solid Waste Management and Public Cleansing Corporation second action plan, in regulating their management, it focuses on making sure the services provided by the contractors are subjected to their Key Performance Indicators. Frequent monitoring will be conducted by the PPSPPA to make sure the contractors are performing their job well.
- National public awareness
Public awareness campaigns to create the sense of responsibility for the cleanliness of the recreational beaches are crucial. Public awareness campaigns conducted at school and other areas, as well as commercials in radio and television will provide a more holistic approach to the issue, especially by changing the mindset and attitude of the people towards the need for maintaining cleanliness at the coastal areas.
- Reduce, Reuse and Recycle (3Rs)
If 3Rs are practiced regularly and effectively, it will ultimately reduce solid waste generation. There are several ways to reduce plastic usage i.e. buying recyclable items, using recyclable bags and encouraging public to exercise environmentally friendly purchasing habit.
The government should encourage vendors operating at nearby beaches to use recyclable food containers to be more environmental friendly.
Next week: Catch part 4 of the report – the conclusion.