Heavy load: USM students weighing the rubbish collected along the 800m Pantai Robina stretch and 1.2km stretch of Pantai Bersih.
PENANGITES must develop the habit of picking up rubbish thrown by others as it can go a long way towards ensuring cleanliness of the state.
Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng said in some countries, people did not walk away after seeing rubbish on their path.
“They will pick it up and dispose of it properly. I have seen this in Canada.
“We must strive for each and everyone of us to have that attitude,” he said when opening the state’s International Coastal Cleanup programme at Pantai Robina and Pantai Bersih in Butterworth.
Lim said the ‘Cleaner, Greener Penang’ initiative was aimed at inculcating a sense of responsibility and civic consciousness among the public to keep their surroundings clean.
More than 1,000 participants turned up for the four-hour programme yesterday which was part of the ‘Cleaner, Greener Penang’ initiative co-organised by The Star and the Penang and Seberang Prai municipal councils with support from the state government.
Penang is among more than 100 other countries around the world participating in the international programme.
Among the 2,362kg of rubbish collected at the two beaches were used condoms, underwear and sarong.
Most of the garbage collected in the 800m stretch of Pantai Robina and 1.2km of Pantai Bersih comprised food packaging and plastic water bottles.
Event organising chairman Koay Teng Hai, who is Pulau Tikus assemblyman, said it was possible that the clothing and condoms had drifted to the shore from elsewhere.
“Most of what we collected were food-related items meaning that it’s very likely to be rubbish left by picnickers.
“The ambiance here is nicer than Gurney Drive on Penang island but unfortunately, rubbish is being thrown indiscriminately,” he said.
Among the youngest participants was six-year-old Ng Wei Heng who said he came “to collect rubbish”.
His father Cheng Teik, 47, said they had to wake up at 5am to attend the event.
“Since we are from Bukit Mertajam, I had to wake Wei Heng up early to make it for the 7am programme.
“He was very keen when I told him that we were going to help clean up the beach.
“I believe it’s important to train children from a young age to be conscious of the environment,” the oil company supervisor said.
Friends Ong Kai Li and Ng Hooi Jing cycled from their homes 20 minutes away to join in the gotong-royong.
“It’s our day off but we don’t mind waking up early to show our support for the environment,” Hoo Jing said.
Persatuan Sumber Alam Taman Bagan Lalang chairman Ang Hock Lean, 51, said he came with 16 association members to help.
“The beach here was so beautiful 20 years ago — you could dig for small living creatures. Hopefully, we can make it nice again,” he said.