MM FEB 2018: Sg. Congkak River Clean-up
Sunday, 11 Febuary 2018
Written By Yong Jun Jie
Edited by Yim Hor Yew
Over the weekend, Raleigh Kuala Lumpur, with the support of the Selangor Government and the help of 20 enthusiastic volunteers, have completed a river clean-up at Sungai Congkak, Hulu Langat.
The Sungai Congkak Recreational Forest is located roughly an hour away from the city centre. Other than being known as a popular site for a relaxing day trip to the river, the recreational forest also has a few campsites and a trail that leads to a small peak with amazing view. Sadly, parts of the park have fallen into despair because of ignorant visitors who has left behind many trash in the park.
After two hours of hard work, we collected 21 sacks of trash along with some other oversized trash. Many of these waste can be avoided in the first place! Now, we are listing down some of the most common rubbish that we have found in the park and the ways you can help to avoid creating more rubbish.
- Plastic Food Wrappers/Containers
Majority of the trash collected on that day were plastic food wrappers of all sizes, not to mention the ‘tapau’ (take-away) containers too. Many of these wrappers can be easily replaced with reusable containers and bags.
Next, we suggest that instead of going for pre-packaged vegetables which come with unnecessary plastic packaging, why not bring your own reusable bag pick the vegetables without the packaging? If your local supermarket has no such option, another way to reduce using plastic wrappers is to go to wet markets. By this way, not only that you get to save the planet, you will also get to save money in the long run!
"One of the volunteer pulling up rubbish that are burried by the soil."
Thanks to the ban on the use of polystyrene containers in Selangor, there was not a single polystyrene container found in the park, however plastic ‘tapau’ container were still easily spotted. Therefore, always take a reusable container with you, so the next time you need to ‘tapau’ food, you do not have to use the disposable ones!
- Plastic Bottles
"Plastic bottle caps are everywhere!"
Each year, Coca-Cola is producing more than 110 billion plastic bottles (Kentish B. 2017) and in total, the number of plastic bottles being produced globally currently stands at 480 million each year and is set to continue to rise. Unfortunately, only a tiny portion of those are recycled or reused, and the rest of them end up in landfills and the environment. The problem can be solved with some simple gestures. For example, stop buying bottled water and bring your own bottle. If you run out of water, refill it! Next, ask for tap water instead of bottled water when you are at a restaurant. A small initiative can make a huge different in the long run.
- Disposable Utensils/Cutlery
There was a staggering amount of both plastic and paper utensils and cutlery that was left behind by some irresponsible visitors in the park, many of them were left lying around next to makeshift barbeque pits in the campsite. You might think for a second: “paper degradable mah, never mind lah”. But did you know that these paper utensils are often lined with a thin coat of plastic to make it water proof so that it’s usability can be extended? Therefore, recycler would usually refuse to accept them as they are costly to be processed, and their ultimate fate would be in the landfills. Needless to say, the plastic utensils are not biodegradable and will release toxic compound into the ground. Hence, bring your own plates and cutlery on your next picnic, you might need to wash the dishes but you will definitely get to help the environment!
"Barbeque buffet for the volunteers with reusable utensils!"
Besides the trash mentioned above, plenty of cigarettes butts, barbeque pits and baby diapers were also found. The most interesting one must be a fully functioning folding table!
Let’s start the change by changing ourselves and help protect the environment!
Kentish, B. (2017, October 03). Coca-Cola 'increases production of plastic bottles by a billion'. Retrieved February 09, 2018, from http://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/news/coca-cola-bottles-plastic-increase-coke-total-number-world-yearly-a7981561.html