KUDAT, Oct 14 – About 1,000 members of the local community here collected 13,319.73kg trash, 67 per cent of which was plastic, along the coastal areas of Kudat and the islands during a “gotong-royong” programme here since yesterday.
The two-day programme, held in conjunction with International Coastal Cleanup Day, was jointly organised by district office, Sabah Parks, World-Wildlife Fund-Malaysia, as well as Kudat Turtle Conservation Centre.
Present during the closing today at Sidek Esplanade here were Tanjong Kapor assemblyman Ben Chong and district officer Sapdin Ibrahim.
“The programme has several objectives which include supporting global efforts to conserve coastal areas and the ocean, as well as to create awareness among public that the areas could generate income in terms of fisheries and tourism,” Chong said.
“There are also two additional programmes being held which are underwater cleanup focusing on removing ghost nets and collecting microplastic.”
Meanwhile, Ivan Tan, who was one of the organisers in charge of underwater cleanup, said removing ghost nets activity was being held for the second time this year.
“Ghost nets, which are left by trawlers and local fishermen, drifts to dive sites and ends up being trapped on coral reef.
“During previous dive, we stumbled upon dead turtles and fish trapped in those nets,” he added.
Blue Fins dive centre co-founder Camuel Tsen, 38, said with more volunteers they could collect more nets.
“We are hoping that there will be more funding for such activity in future to support in terms of equipment such as knifes, net and other items,” he said, adding that one dive could last between 30 to 45 minutes.
Tsen is among 20 divers and volunteers from Blue Fins, Tommy’s place, Biostation, Tomombuvoi, and Mammalian dive centres based here who picked up 82.6 kg of ghost nets, with the longest net measuring 70 metres.