Planning to go on a beach vacation in Malaysia? Or just looking for something meaningful to do over the weekends? Then consider volunteering in these beach-up programs. By joining up with these beach-up programs, you can truly help in the fight against the plastic pollution problem, and make our beaches cleaner for everyone.
And according to the Ocean Conservancy, 2 billion people within 30 miles of the coast can create 100 million metric tons of coastal plastic waste. Instead of contributing to the mounting plastic waste in the ocean, let’s be part of the solution in a fun way. Here are seven beach clean up activities that you can participate in the next time you’re near the beach.
#1 Reef Check Malaysia
Reef Check Malaysia is part of the worldwide Reef Check network. Today, the organisation monitors over 200 coral reefs annually around the country and is actively involved in reef management and conservation efforts in places like Tioman and Sandakan. And every year in September Reef Check Malaysia holds the International Coastal Cleanup (ICC) Day in Malaysia.
ICC is a global event that has been running for 35 years, with volunteers all around the world engaging and encouraging their communities to take action by removing trash from beaches or oceans, identifying the sources of the litter and inspiring change in beating marine debris pollution.
The 2019 ICC saw over 37,000 kg of rubbish removed from Malaysian beaches, including 137,865 plastic beverage bottles, 44,621 plastic grocery bags, and 77,075 food wrappers.
Even during the pandemic, Reef Check was able to hold the event online in the form of #iccfromhome.
ICC 2022 is coming on September 10th, this is your chance to join this community and help make our beaches cleaner.
#2 Tengah Island Conservation, Johor
Tengah Island Conservation (TIC) is a non-profit biodiversity management initiative located on Pulau Tengah, an island within the Johor Marine Park, Malaysia. TIC is dedicated to the research, rehabilitation and regeneration of the natural environment.
TIC regularly holds beach clean-ups to keep the beaches of Pulau Tengah free of trash and thus protect its precious marine ecosystems.
The program began in 2018, from February to November. During that time, the TIC team, together with volunteers and resort guests, collected an astounding total of 9358 kg of marine debris from the beaches of Pulau Tengah, Pulau Besar and Pulau Mensirip with plastic bottles accounting for 68% of the number of items collected, followed by straws/lollipop sticks (13%) and shoes (11%). Additionally, a total of 3,285 kg of fishing gear was retrieved from the beaches and surrounding waters.
#3 Juara Turtle Project, Tioman
The Juara Turtle Project (JTP) is one of the most preeminent non-profit turtle conservation projects in Malaysia. In 2013, the JTP collected plastic bottles and tin cans from a few resorts in Juara to help Reef Check Malaysia with the recycling program they developed to keep Tioman Island clean.
Since then, the JTP had switched focus towards collecting plastic bottles and tin cans from resorts/establishments involved in the program and delivering them to a Waste Management Station for processing before being sent to the mainland.
If you want to take part in this program, visit the Volunteer Program page for more information.
#4 Beach Cleanup Sabah
Beach Cleanup Sabah (BCS) is a small but close-knit group of friends who share the same vision and love for nature. They created this platform so that volunteers can come together to conduct regular clean-ups and create awareness of the pollution that endangers both marine and land wildlife.
If you live in Sabah or are planning to visit, contact this email for more information about BCS and how to volunteer.
#5 MY Clean Beach
MY Clean Beach is a programme initiated to clean up Malaysia’s beaches, encouraging visitors and local communities to reduce litter and waste, increase recycling, beautify, maintain, and sustain public spaces.
Since 2021, MY Clean Beach has conducted over 9 beach clean-ups throughout Malaysia, removed 5452 kg of trash and hosted 822 volunteers and contributors. And they can always use more volunteers, so contact them here and learn more about their programs.
#6 Kuching Beach Cleaners, Sarawak
Kuching Beach Cleaners is a volunteer-based non-profit organisation that does regular beach clean-ups at selected beaches near the capital city of Sarawak, Kuching. They work together with other like-minded NGOs, organising clean-ups, awareness dialogues and documentary screenings to raise awareness of plastic pollution and combat the “tidak apa” (don’t care) and “out-of-sight-out-of-mind” of most Malaysians.
Since 2013, the Kuching Beach Cleaners have conducted more than 30 beach clean-ups and continue to do more. Since 2018, they have also started giving public talks to educate the public about marine debris + plastic pollution – even more so during the Covid-19 pandemic.
If you’re a local Sarawakian, feel free to contact them here to learn more about what they do and how to organise your own beach clean-up.
#7 Geng Plastik Ija, Terengganu
Geng Plastik Ija (GPI), or the Green Plastic Gang, was formed in 2017 for the purpose of keeping Terengganu’s beaches clean. The group, which includes professionals, gets together every weekend to collect rubbish and clean up beach areas around Terengganu. Originally focused on beaches in Kemaman and Dungun, in 2019 as more members joined, the GPI expanded its activities to the coastal areas in Kuala Terengganu, Marang, Setiu and Besut.
If you live in Terengganu and are interested in joining GPI, then contact them through their email.
Cover image source: Where2Life