PICKING UP RUBBISH: 'Waterfall survivors' on unique drive
KOTA KINABALU: COME June, walk around the city and you might find yourself hugging a stranger.
In trying to be creative in building community awareness, a group calling themselves "Waterfall Survivors" has launched a "Give Me a Hug, Say No to Litterbug" campaign here.
The peninsula-based Facebook group founded in 2008, initially started drives to clean up waterfall areas but has since expanded its project to include awareness campaigns while picking up litter in major cities.
They currently have over 9,000 Facebook members.
Founder and president Joe Yap Wei Lea brought the "hugging for anti-littering" to Sabah after introducing it in the peninsula last month.
The campaign, to be held from June 1 to 3 in various locations in the city centre, is the second phase here, following an overwhelming response to the one held earlier this month.
Why hugging? Yap said this act was a universal sign of love and caring, and the power of hugging has been used by other campaigners around the world.
Yap said those who did not want to hug could give high-fives to show their support. "Our aim is to create a buzz ... People are bound to ask questions when they are curious about what's happening.
"This kind of approach is also to show that picking up rubbish need not be a boring thing," she said.
Yap, 33, who is passionate about visiting waterfalls, started the group after being dismayed at rubbish left at these nature sites by picnickers.
Believing that a change of mindset is better than punishing litterbugs or imposing penalties, she hoped this out-of-the-box approach would yield results.
"There is no way to gauge (the effectiveness of relaying the message), but we have to start somewhere instead of just watching Mother Earth slowly being destroyed by our acts," she said.
Those interested to join in the cause and learn more could visit the "Give Me a Hug, Say No to Litterbug" @ Kota Kinabalu Facebook page.