If every piece of trash you pick up from the beach earns you a buck, you will be a guaranteed billionaire. Throughout the years, beach cleanup around the world has been a famous activity as a part of the ecotourism initiatives and objective of which reportedly had collected a minimum of ten tones of trash at each clean up. With human tourists carrying out their activities on the beach with each visit, food is normally involved. Tin cans are left behind on the sandy beach, food wrappers are seen either flying around or half-buried in the sand and at any other times bottles are found – plastic and glass altogether. While glass bottles, especially the broken ones can be harmful towards other people who stroll along the beach area as they will cause injuries, the non-biodegradable plastic bottles at the shores can easily float away and make their ways into the ocean. After that it will automatically lead to another problem which is marine contamination whereby it is even more challenging to fix as it is going to require professional divers to get inside the water as deep as the seabed for the garbage collection which is higher at risk. Besides, marine contamination will inevitably disturb the ecosystem, and it will eventually come back to us human, the source of the problem. Most people take for granted that the place is huge, therefore not even the least of guilt is felt when throwing the small wrapper. The consequence of it is that big quantity of small wrapper is equivalent to a big amount of trash.
On 26th April 2012, we had 46 students and 4 teachers from the same school, Dalat International School join the Beach Cleanup 2012 at the same location, Pulau Payar Marine Park, Langkawi. The students were indirectly given the education in taking care of the environment and doing their parts in making the beach a better place for the living organisms in the coastal areas. Environmental conservation awareness like this one should be instilled in children while they are still young, nevertheless not too late for normal adult to be exposed to. Towards the end of the program students had shown deep interest in the caring for beach cleanliness. What was important was the feeling they obtained after the program, the acknowledgment of the importance of the activity in cleaning up the beach, strong belief in conserving nature and of course, the spread of word to their family members in order to get the culture of being more responsible when travelling cultivated. Trash and residues were picked up as much as they could and only the beach’s “belongings” like rotten leaves, bleach and dead corals on the sand were behind.
With great hope, more schools can get involved in activities like this one because apart from feeding the young students with information and knowledge about environmental conservation and what specific meaning it carries, they get to become more responsible globally. The sustainability of our nature’s beauty and its original form like the one we have here in Langkawi, is worth the keep and effort.