By Rubendran Sathupathy
Fifty students and staff from Inti International University Malaysia, coordinated by Dr. Diana Wong, organized a clean-up at the Tanjung Tuan beach on 24th September as part of INTI’s University Social Responsibility.
Dr. Diana, who is a senior lecturer at the Faculty of Business and Communications and teaches marketing and management subjects, said she planned this activity as she believes social and environmental actions help safeguard the environment.
“I wanted to expose this program to my students as well as many people as possible so that everyone has an awareness of the importance of protecting our environment,” she said.
“It is a good platform, an effective way to share the importance of taking care of the environment and also to bring INTI’s image in terms of social responsibility.”
She considered the clean-up a success as the team managed to collect 232 plastic bottles, two aluminum cans, 230 general wastes, two glass, and 70 polystyrenes from the beach.
However, Dr. Diana found challenging to find participants to volunteer for the beach clean-up. “Many people are aware of what beach cleaning is and its importance but not everybody is 100% committed to getting their hands dirty to do it,” she said.
“Nevertheless, I think I have quite a good reputation with the students and therefore managed to get support from our students. Not only that, our students did an excellent job in helping to share with their friends, so we also have participants from other colleges that joined on that day. So, word of mouth and social media these days also played a key role.”
The reason Dr. Diana chose Tanjung Tuan beach was because of its proximity to the participants which made it convenient for them to travel there since most of them are from Nilai. Tanjung Tuan is in Port Dickson, a major tourist destination, especially for locals.
“Every weekend, it is very packed. So, there are bound to rubbish, litter, and marine debris,” she said.
Joel, one volunteers who joined the clean-up said “It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience for us, and we were glad to have this opportunity. We also did this as part of our group assignment.”
“If the beach is dirty, tourists are disinclined to visit as they are surrounded by trash,” added Joel.
Dr. Diana said she gained valuable insights to motivate the team and educate them on the importance of environmental protection and learned the significance of teamwork, especially when conducting the activity.
The team found large number of plastic bottles stuck at the roots of trees, which caused them to be washed up on the shore. They concluded this was why there is rubbish on the beach. Another thing they discovered was improperly disposed of masks littered around the beach.
Joel was saddened by the amount of trash on the beach.
“We need to spread awareness and do our part in protecting the environment because the rubbish is harmful to marine life. It is toxic and can kill them.”
He lamented that the team did not manage to clean up the entire beach despite the amount of time invested in the activity, due to the risks associated with the areas to clean.
“Although we managed to dispose of the surrounding garbage, there were some parts that we could not reach as the waste was located in dangerous areas.”
Dr. Diana acknowledged that it is not easy to get rid of unpleasant habits, thus she advised people to start small and take small steps in protecting the environment.
“Hopefully, that will become a big movement. It will have a ripple effect on others and for the betterment of the overall environment that we live in.”
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