KUALA LUMPUR, 4 OCTOBER 2022 – Reef Check Malaysia coordinated the annual nationwide beach clean-up throughout the month of September in conjunction with International Coastal Clean-up Day (ICC).
A total of 9129 volunteers joined the campaign with 9065 volunteers cleaning up on land and 64 divers involved in underwater cleanups.
A staggering 24,301 kg of trash were collected over 394 km of coastlines around Malaysia.
A total of 300,183 items were collected. The most common item found were cigarette butts at 55,100 pieces, plastic bottles came in second at 44,706 bottles, followed by 34,673 plastic or foam pieces smaller than 2.5 cm.
These small pieces of plastics, also known as microplastics, are most concerning as they can be accidentally ingested by marine mammals.
“Unfortunately, but not surprisingly, items made from plastics were the most commonly found during our clean-ups.
“Plastics do not degrade easily and can be floating around our oceans for decades before ending up on our shores”, explained Julian Hyde, the General Manager of Reef Check Malaysia.
The last physical ICC coordinated by Reef Check Malaysia was conducted in 2020 when the restrictions were slightly relaxed. In 2021, in light of the pandemic, Reef Check Malaysia held a 4-week #ICCfromHome campaign.
The weekly challenges include learning about what we throw away, not using single-use plastic bags, combating food waste, and sorting at the source – at home.
ICC is a global effort that has been running for more than 35 years and took place in the month of September.
Around the world, volunteers work together to clean our beaches and waterways, as well as raise awareness on the seriousness of the marine debris issue.
This year’s campaign in Malaysia was using #ICCMY2022 hashtag to share all volunteers’ efforts on social media.
ICCMY2022 sponsored by TechnipFMC and Primer Group
The #ICCMY2022 was also made possible by sponsors who supported the effort including TechnipFMC and Primer Group.
The TechnipFMC team which consisted of their employees and family members participated in beach clean-ups in Johor and Malacca and collectively removed 1,405.127kg of trash in one day.
Besides participating in a beach clean-up in Selangor, the Primer Group also sponsored E-vouchers for all volunteers and four 24oz, 21oz and 18oz Hydro Flask bottles to the 1st, 2nd and 3rd best teams that collected the most trash.
“After the Covid-19 lockdowns, we are proud of fellow Malaysians who came out in forces to clean-up our environment for this year’s ICC campaign.
“This shows that there is growing awareness on the issue of marine debris”, mentioned Theresa Ng, the Programme Development Manager of Reef Check Malaysia.
The ICC campaign may have ended this year but the effort to address waste in our environment should continue. Reducing consumption and separating our recyclables at source should become part of our daily habits.