KOTA KINABALU: The state of cleanliness at beaches here is below satisfactory level despite many awareness campaigns being held over the years.
Kota Kinabalu City Hall mayor Datuk Yeo Boon Hai said suggestions that public cleanliness awareness be taught in schools seem to have fallen on deaf ears.
“Schools have been in existence since the British colonial era, but it seems like our people are ‘slow learners’.
“For the past 30 years in the Ministry, I have been advocating for taking care of the environment – but today, I am still here cleaning a dirty beach,” he said, before joining 200 people to clean up the Likas bay, in conjunction with the 31st International Coastal Cleanup here.
Yeo added that the local authority is not going to take a punitive approach to littering, as awareness is still a better way to effect a cleaner environment.
“People have to stop blaming the government for not cleaning up rubbish, or developments for contributing to pollution, or illegal immigrants from water villages dumping plastic and other items into the sea.
“We also do not need contract staff and excavators to clean the beaches every day, as it is supposed to be everyone's duty to take care of the environment by at least picking up rubbish in front of them,” he said.
The one-day event was organised by Body Shop Malaysia for its 22nd annual participation in the International Coastal cleanup.
Present were State Tourism, Culture and Environment permanent secretary Datu Rusmadi Datu Sulai and Body Shop chief executive officer Molly Fong.
The one-day campaign collected about 2,000 kilogrammes of trash picked up from a 500-metre stretch of beach.