Local residents today spent their evening cleaning up the Tanjung Lipat beach here and picked up trash weighing a total of 252kg. Pic by Brandon John.

KOTA KINABALU: Local residents today spent their evening cleaning up the Tanjung Lipat beach here and picked up trash weighing a total of 252kg.

Plastic bags made up the bulk of the rubbish, followed by plastic bottles and styrofoam objects.

The garbage also included used diapers, candy packets and tooth brushes, among others.

Organised by non-governmental organisation Trash Hero Borneo, 125 volunteers including students gathered at the beach at 4pm and combed the sandy beaches for rubbish.

Its co-founder, Monica Chin, said today’s two-hour beach cleaning event saw a significant improvement in the number of participants.

“The Borneo chapter’s first few initiatives started with just six to 10 people. We started our first event in March this year and today is our 20th programme.

“I am very pleased with the positive support shown by local communities and the sponsors. It has helped our organisation grow,” she told the New Straits Times today.

Also present was Trash Hero World co-founder Roman Peter, who is visiting Sabah for the first time.

Expressing optimism about the NGO’s efforts, said such events could raise environmental awareness among volunteers and prevent them from littering in public areas.

“We want them to reduce their use of plastics, too. This is the kind of change we want to see in the world.

“Trash Hero’s concept is that we don't want to blame anybody or just talk about the problems. We’d rather provide solutions because ultimately, actions speak louder than words,” he said.

Peter, who is from Switzerland, said its positive approach has allowed the organisation to grow from a small project in 2013 to 42 chapters throughout the world.

He also said conservationists and environmentalists across the world are now aiming to mobilise at least five per cent of the world’s population to “clean up the planet”.

This, he said, is an initiative in conjunction with the World Cleanup Day on Sept 15 next year.

“As a global partner of the event's organiser ‘Let’s Do It! World’, we will be working together to clean Malaysia as well as other countries on that day.”

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