| Aziz Idris |
THE spirit of volunteerism was evident as 136 individuals recently rolled their sleeves up for a community beach clean-up, collecting nearly two tonnes of rubbish from Serasa Beach in the first environmental event to kick start the new year.
British High Commissioner to Brunei Darussalam Richard Lindsay and his wife, Xanthe, also lent a helping hand to the good cause. He expressed delight at being part of a large group of Bruneians helping to clear rubbish from the beach in Serasa.
“There were more volunteers than ever before – demonstrating the growing awareness of this problem, and the importance of protecting Brunei’s beautiful environment.
“On Sunday, we collected almost two tonnes of waste – mostly plastic. Globally, eight million tonnes of plastic end up in the sea each year. We have to work together to prevent its use in the first place, as well as to collect and dispose of the waste,” he said.
Organised by Poni Divers, the clean-up aimed to remove litter brought in by the recent storms before it returns out to sea, while at the same time raising awareness on environmental conservation and encourage volunteerism, especially among students.
The volunteers and Poni Divers officials accumulated a whopping 1.9 tonnes of litter throughout the campaign. This shows an increase in environmental consciousness among Bruneians with the strong presence of the younger generation.
The two storms last month, Kai-Tak and Vinta, brought torrential rainfall and strong winds across the Sultanate. Serasa Beach was pounded by strong winds and waves, kicking up marine debris and litter towards the shores.
“A majority of this came in the form of polystyrene, plastic bottles, plastic containers, straws and cigarette butts. The plastics take an average of at least 450 years to degrade and can form into a large floating patch of debris about 150 times the size of Brunei,” Poni Divers Managing Director Wong Thye Sing explained.
He believes the campaign will focus not only on the beach clean-up but be “more about raising awareness on the trash you see as you are picking them up, you then make the conscious effort to dispose of your trash responsibly.”