Villagers take waste issue into their own hands

Villagers take waste issue into their own hands

Villagers take waste issue into their own hands

KOTA KINABALU: Tired of their home being constantly labelled a “dirty island”, the villagers of Pulau Mabul joined forces to undertake a major clean-up effort, clearing over 20,000kg of waste.

The initiative, spanning three clean-up exercises between March and July, involved over 1,000 residents on the island off Sabah’s eastern town of Semporna.

Led by village chief Yusuf Jalal, the residents were determined to preserve Pulau Mabul’s image as a world-class diving destination.

“This endeavour embodies our collective commitment to seeing a better and cleaner Mabul,” said Yusuf on Sunday.

“We have been telling our islanders that Mabul has been labelled a dirty island many times despite having world-class diving sites.


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“Therefore, we want to ensure our beaches are cleaner. We have collected over 20,000kg of waste through these efforts.”

The islanders initially collected over 10,000kg of trash during a March island-wide clean-up, followed by a second effort in June, where they again came together to collect over 8,000kg of waste.

On Saturday, the third clean-up saw the community collect an additional 5,000kg of waste.

This effort was part of a broader district-level cleanliness campaign launched earlier this year, facilitated by cooperation with government agencies such as the district office and district council.

Yusuf said the collaboration was vital to the initiative’s success and also expressed gratitude for support provided by Reef Check Malaysia.


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“We hope that the government will consider establishing a waste management system, which will greatly help us prevent more trash from being thrown into the sea and polluting our beaches,” he said, adding that there was a need to engage more support for resources to conduct regular clean-ups.

Mubin Paraja, a villager and member of the Pulau Mabul waste management committee, hailed the first-ever community-led effort to address the island’s waste management issue.

“We need more people to help us ensure this effort is sustainable,” he said.

Reef Check Malaysia programme manager Adzmin Fatta also lauded the villagers’ efforts and the leadership shown by the village chief.

“I have witnessed great cooperation among the islanders, especially the village leadership.


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“It’s time for us to reflect on the potential of community-driven initiatives in contributing and addressing issues when supported adequately.

“We will continue to work with the village committee and the islanders, offering our support whenever possible,” he said.

Villagers take waste issue into their own hands



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