Uniting for a Cleaner Coastline at the International Coastal Cleanup Malaysia 2023

October 25, 2023

On 30 September, the picturesque Pantai Teluk Kemang beach in Port Dickson, Malaysia, hosted an inspiring showcase of unity and corporate social responsibility. Spearheaded by the School of Hospitality (SOHOS) and the Center for American Education (CAE) at INTI International College Subang (IICS) and in partnership with Reef Check Malaysia, the International Coastal Cleanup Malaysia 2023 demonstrated the remarkable power of community collaboration in preserving our invaluable natural assets.

The International Coastal Cleanup Malaysia 2023 event attracted the participation of 160 people.

Central to this environmentally-driven initiative was the dedicated IICS team under the leadership of Maztini Ahmad Mahir and Siti Nur Ahmad Kamaruddin. Alongside them were volunteers from IICS, Hurricane Geo Inspection Survey Sdn. Bhd. (HGIS), the Malaysian Association of Housekeepers (MAHIR), and students from Berjaya University and Sunway University united. This 160-strong community was fueled by a mutual desire to effect meaningful change.

Echoing the global spirit of International Coastal Cleanup Day in September, the participants converged with a well-defined mission: to champion corporate social responsibility, promote efficient waste management, and heighten ocean awareness. Starting at 8:30 a.m. and lasting until noon, these volunteers diligently cleaned a 2-kilometer stretch of the beach.

Aliya Marnina Amirudin, Dean of SOHOS, expressed the importance of their undertaking: “As the sun set that day, we realised that it was our collective responsibility to adapt and adopt new habits. With the looming threat of global warming, supporting cleanup initiatives like these is a fundamental step towards shielding our planet.”

CAE student Farah Farzana shared a personal sentiment about the ocean: “The ocean is more than just a body of water; it’s a vibrant world teeming with life.” Reflecting on a treasured memory from her childhood in Australia, where she swam with a dolphin, she conveyed, “There’s truth in the adage, ‘A small step goes a long way.’ While my contribution might seem small, it did raise awareness among students and beachgoers about the significance of preserving our oceans.”

The International Coastal Cleanup Malaysia 2023 event attracted the participation of 160 people.

Yet, her story carried a sombre undertone: “I was disheartened by countless cigarette butts littering the shoreline. My attempt to clean them up barely made a dent, considering the 2-kilometer distance. Unfortunately, some smokers and tourists seem oblivious to the damage they cause. The sheer volume was shocking.”

Maztini Ahmad Mahir, the organiser and senior lecturer, shared her connection to the beach, recounting, “This very coastline is adjacent to my parent’s hometown. What I cherish most is the cool breeze and the simple joy of gazing at the sea whenever we please.” But her tone shifted to one of distress, revealing, “It was heart-wrenching to discover shards of glass in the sand. Beaches are meant for barefoot walks and direct connection with the Earth. Finding broken glass was a stark reminder of the selfishness of those who litter, as it can harm not only humans but also other creatures and marine life.”

Emphasising the crucial role of education, Wong Choong Ren, another CAE student, commented, “Education opens our eyes to environmental issues and equips us with the knowledge needed to make informed decisions, understanding how our actions affect the ecosystem.” He urged, “To those who think it’s too late to start, you’re mistaken! Time is precious, and the ecosystem depends on you to play your part.”

Lecturer Siti Nur Ahmad Kamaruddin couldn’t hide her disappointment over the deteriorating state of the beach due to poor waste management. She implored, “Educators must teach our young generation to love the environment and recognise our shared responsibility toward the earth. We must work together to preserve it.”

Meanwhile, Theresa Ng, Chief Operating Executive at Reef Check Malaysia, admired the collaborative beach cleanup.

“It’s impactful to see people from all walks of life join us in keeping our environment clean. Every year, we coordinate the International Coastal Cleanup campaign in Malaysia, and we hope that INTI College will participate again next September. We encourage more faculties to join the cause,” she said.

During her speech, she emphasised the abundant opportunities for collaboration with local NGOs in Malaysia. She urged everyone to reach out to local charities and emphasised that regardless of one’s interests, there are always ways to give back to society and the environment. She encouraged approaching these opportunities with an open mind and heart.

“Don’t wait for others to initiate programs. Participate in volunteer activities around us, even if it’s just once! We do it for our families and future generations,” she reminded.

The International Coastal Cleanup Malaysia 2023 was not just another day at the beach. It was a remarkable demonstration of the positive impact that can be made when people come together for a shared cause, driven by their love for the environment and their commitment to protecting it for the benefit of future generations.

All International Coastal Cleanup Malaysia 2023 participants are posing cheerfully for a photo group.