KK weekend beach cleanup sees 764kg of plastic waste collected

KOTA KINABALU: A beach cleanup specifically targeting plastic waste saw a total of 764kg of trash gathered over the April 30-May 1 weekend.

The “KK-Plastic Neutral Love Clean KK (Kota Kinabalu) Cleanup” is the start of an initiative to make Sabah plastic-neutral in five years.

Simon Christopher, founder of non-governmental organisation Blu Hope, said the initiative was its brainchild, an effort to derive monetary value from plastic waste.

According to him, Blu Hope sees the way towards making Sabah the first plastic-neutral state in Malaysia is to bring tangible value from recycling plastic waste.

“The beach cleanup in Likas Bay near here (involved) 77 volunteers from various organisations and agencies,” he said in a statement recently.

Christopher said this initiative was the first of its kind to focus on quantitative as well as qualitative cleaning, unlike many other programmes that gathered all sorts of trash.

He said this was a way to gather specific data on plastic waste as no one knows the extent of the problem and how to deal with it.

The programme was conducted in collaboration with the Tropical Research and Conservation Centre (TRACC).

Christopher said with Blu Hope’s goals alongside City Hall’s recently-launched “Love KK” initiative to clean up the city, different types of rubbish could be dealt with in different ways.

He said the goal is to establish a circular waste collection system, first in Kota Kinabalu and then statewide.

During the event, volunteers viewed a special message from the legendary natural historian and broadcaster David Attenborough.

They also learnt about the UK’s Ocean Generation “Rethinking Plastics” three-part series, narrated by Maya Karin.

The volunteers were from City Hall, the Sabah International Conference Centre (SICC), JCI Tanjung Aru, Sutera Sanctuary Lodges, Sekolah Indonesia Kota Kinabalu, Kinabalu International School EcoWarriors, and Young Explorers Academy.

Several months ago, Blu Hope signed a memorandum of understanding with Kota Kinabalu City Hall on the collection and recycling of plastic waste.

This includes tonnes of waste washed up on the shores of the state capital, Christopher said.

He added that one of Blu Hope’s goals is to obtain new scientific data on marine debris across all the city’s beaches.