Cleaner waters with ‘Adopt-A-Beach’

|     Daniel Lim     |

THE Panaga Club’s Last Straw Environmental Volunteer Group launched an ‘Adopt-A-Beach’ programme as part of efforts to keep the beaches in the Belait District clean.

The event, held on February 13 at the Panaga Club beach shelter, marked the start of an initiative where the volunteers had gathered other groups to adopt a section of the Panaga coast.

Each section is 500 metres long and with 11 slots, the total length of the ‘adopted beach’ was 5.5km.

Ramon Van Dijk, a founding member of the volunteer group, said the ‘Adopt-A-Beach’ programme provides an avenue for any group to adopt a section of the beach for maintenance and cleanliness.

“During the launch, we had groups making a pledge to clean and care for the beach for at least two years and to conduct at least four clean-up campaigns every year,” he added.

Children cut ribbon, made from disposed plastics found on the beach, to mark the launching. – PHOTOS: DANIEL LIM
Participants from various organisations take part in the campaign

Van Dijk told the Bulletin that seven groups participated in the programme with one adopting more than a section of the beach.

“Other than the Last Straw, participants included the Panaga Club staff, the Panaga School staff, the children of the Rampayoh and Teraja campuses of Panaga School, the Future Energy Lions, the Panaga Natural History Society, the E-side and the BSP (Brunei Shell Petroleum) Exploration,” he added.

Van Dijk noted that there are two more sections of the beach still up for adoption.

Established in May 2018, the Last Straw Environmental Volunteer Group has many initiatives under its belt, one being the ‘Adopt-A-Beach’ programme.

“Our goal for the ‘Adopt-A-Beach’ programme is to make a regional impact, whereas our previous initiatives focussed more on Panaga,” Van Dijk said.

He added that his group started by encouraging the use of recyclable straws, which led to various cleaning campaigns with the recent one held last November dubbed the ‘Cycle Path: Clean Up’.

“All efforts by our group is about raising awareness on the dangers of plastics and how they can negatively impact our environment and wildlife. We felt this programme and our previous initiatives are important small steps in creating awareness,” he explained.

“There’s a quote by Mahatma Gandhi which says ‘Be the change you wish to see in the world’. If the state of the beach bothers you, find a group of like-minded people and see if something can be worked out to make the change you want,” Van Dijk said.

The event started with an afternoon briefing before the beach cleaning campaign, followed by the launching of the ‘Adopt-A-Beach’ programme.

Members of the public who wish to learn about the various efforts and initiatives by the Last Straw Environmental Volunteer Group can reach it through Instagram and Facebook or through email at [email protected]