On the 17th March 2018, #PowerShiftMsia held a beach cleanup at Pantai Remis, Kuala Selangor in conjunction with Reef Check Malaysia’s National effort in accordance with the International Year of Coral.
In the early morning, volunteers gathered at KL Sentral with smiley faces from the #PowerShiftMsia team. Once headcount was done, we departed straight to Pantai Remis.
On the bus, Edmund from Reef Check Malaysia briefed through the #PowerShiftMsia team leads on the usage of the Clean Swell apps – it was super easy to use! Highly recommend it if you are to conduct your own cleanup next time. Plus point: you can share the results to International Coastal Cleanup later on!
Upon arrival, we were greeted by the helpful Majlis Daerah Kuala Selangor (MDKS) officers. We were so pumped to see them coming with all sorts of logistical assistance! From tong sampah roro, to wheelbarrow and many more useful tools for our cleanup – Kudos to them. Again, to those who want to conduct a beach cleanup, here is a special shoutout to get help from the local council!
A quick introduction and welcome note were done by Emily, the cleanup co-chair from #PowerShiftMsia together with Edmund, the coordinator from Reef Check Malaysia. This was followed by a short remark from a representative of MDKS as well as a representative of our biodegradable plastic bag sponsor – Miracle Spectrum.
Volunteers were then split into 3 groups to be in charge of different stretches of the beach. #PowerShiftMsia in-house team which consisted of Siva, Sheena, Kelly, Jasmin, Thomas, alongside Edmund and Emily led all 3 groups during the cleanup. Each group was given tools and equipment such as gloves, biodegradable plastic bags, tongs, and wheelbarrow. Around 9.30am, 3 groups were all set – and there we went, plogging all the way! We covered around 600m stretch of the beach through muddy area, rocky as well as sandy beach.
Each team lead was in charge of recording the types of garbage collected into the apps, whereas the others went all their way out to scavenge and explore all sorts of interesting trash along the beach. Aside from the very commonly seen plastics and food containers, we found diapers, used clothes, cigarette butts — you name it! From our general observation, most of the trash were left by beach visitors or tourists instead of those being washed up to the shore (spotted mostly along walkways that is beyond the coastline).
Different plastic bags represents different categories of trash.
Among those that were washed on shore, a few had been buried deep among the rocks and sands which was hardly accessible for us to clean it up. What will happen to those trash? We can’t say for sure. So next time you think you are throwing away your trash and will never see them again? Technically yes, but they are never really “away”, they just end up somewhere else in this world, and sometimes even worse – might end up in some marine life’s stomach!
Our actions also gained some traction from visitors as well as the local communities. We got enquiries on what we were doing, who we were, etc. We even bumped into another small plogging group and they joined in the work! Our cleanup took around 2 hours to complete, after which the MDKS truck was kind enough to transport all the collected trash (and volunteers on the truck because we were exhausted :P). Special thanks to MDKS officers who spent their Saturday morning staying with us throughout the cleanup!
We weighted and calculated the total trash collected, and it total up to 39 bags of trash worth 168.3 kg! Detailed breakdown as below:
After all the hard work, all volunteers relaxed and enjoyed the vegetarian-friendly meal prepared by our organizing committee. We all returned to Kuala Lumpur around 1.30pm — exhausted but happy.
Written by Emily
Infographic by Elena
Edited by Diyana