Submitted by Reef Check Malaysia
Reef Check Malaysia (RCM) has been conducting annual beach clean-ups in conjunction with the International Coastal Clean-up (ICC) for several years now, and the effort will continue this year on September 19th amidst the ongoing pandemic. The main sponsor for ICC 2020 is Garnier, and RCM is also working with Coca-Cola as a media partner for the third year.
Last year, 11,900 volunteers collected almost 37,000kg of trash. The top five trash items were plastic beverage bottles, food wrappers, cigarette butts, plastic grocery bags and plastic bottle caps.
This year, the ICC takes on another serious issue: the increase in plastic litter brought about by COVID-19. In the past few months, there has been an increase in single use plastic, especially in the form of personal protective equipment (PPE) such as gloves and face masks. This haphazard littering poses a health risk, especially if these PPEs are contaminated. We see them in supermarket trolleys, along the streets, on sidewalks, and even in playgrounds. News reports have also indicated that discarded face masks have made it to the ocean! Even as the world battles this deadly pandemic and is focused on staying safe and healthy, we must not forget to care for our environment.
As the health and safety of all the volunteers are the highest priority, RCM will closely follow guidance from health authorities during the clean-up effort. A complete set of guidelines, including instructions from Ocean Conservancy, will be distributed which will detail all the necessary precautionary measures to be taken. RCM is in the midst of recruiting more volunteers and partners around the country for this year’s event. If you’d like to be a part of this effort, you can sign up at https://tinyurl.com/icc2020malaysia, or drop them an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Join the Facebook group for this event to receive the latest updates. They also have an array of programs that you can do from the comfort of your own home. Let us all play our part together, for our communities and our ocean.