Brunei Darussalam’s efficient handling of the COVID-19 pandemic has meant we are not suffering the consequences of a lockdown as is currently the case in other countries.
However, with many of us working from home and limiting our forays outside, we do feel cooped up.
Thus, during the weekend I decided to go for a much-needed workout to Bukit Shahbandar Recreational Park. I have not been there for some time and am always taken aback at how beautiful the vista is. Bruneians are lucky to be able to enjoy it.
I was saddened, however, by the casual littering that afflicts what should be a pristine jungle environment.
The well-known rule is simple and should be followed by all visitors: take nothing but memories; leave nothing but footprints.
There is nothing worse than finding plastic bottles and sweet wrappers discarded carelessly along the trails.
The situation is worse at rest stations, where rubbish collection points are provided.
Why provide them?
All visitors should take away with them what they bring into the park. This should be the rule everywhere which reflects our respect for a habitat that is not ours.
We ignore this rule at our peril. At Bukit Luba, I came across an area devastated by wildfire.
A walker enjoying the bench provided for rest had probably tossed a cigarette butt off the path. These actions have left a blackened scar across the hillside, drawing back the curtain of lush green vegetation to reveal charred earth littered with glistening plastic bottles.
Each and every one of us is responsible for maintaining this magical place and the many other areas of outstanding natural beauty in Brunei.
For our collective fight to triumph against poaching, illegal logging and the other abuses of Brunei’s precious and fragile natural heritage, attending to how we behave at an individual level is of paramount importance.
It is not just the government’s job to do this. We are merely guardians and must all play our part and set a clear example to those who will inherit the Earth when we are gone.
Brunei is known as the abode of peace. For this we are all grateful. I only hope it does not become the sinister silence of a forest devoid of life.
Bruneians are dealing so effectively with the virus outbreak.
This suggests that they can deal with anything.