I was on the train sat next to her on the way getting out of Poland, the British girl told me that the beaches and many islands in Phillipines are overwhelming defiled. Though these beaches are immensely commercialised with tourists but the purity of the sand beaches are somehow destroyed by the garbage. Bottles, cans, plastic bags and including bigger pieces of garbage can be seen sweeping to the shore by the waves. “There are just too much of rubbish everywhere, mounding to the shore”, and she further remarked without any hesitation, “I was not able to accept the attribute that I was able to bask under the sun on the supposedly pristine beach, unless it is acceptable to you that you spread and lie rest on the garbage by your back”.
I did not agree with her. When I see Mindoro island for myself, although the beaches may not have been rated tip-top clean, but these beaches are relatively well taken care of. Of course, there were some odds and ends of litters discarded on the shore. It was not that dirty anyway.
Have you seen the dirtiest ever beach?
Some of our islands in Malaysia are found dirtiest. I am very reluctant to address as such. Regardless which angle you inspect, contemplate in any way, you would be appalled with disgust by the amount of garbage mounding along the shore of this island. Which island? Go see yourself - Pulau Lalang, the archipelago chain of nine islands situated not far away from Bagan Datoh in Perak. Though our Pulau Lalang is an uninhabited island, it does not maintain its elegance of unspoilt pristine beach.
We were appalled! We were intensely appalled by the amount of garbage thrown over the shore. From the tip of the beach to the bay of another end, there were heaps of water bottles, liquor bottles and rubbish left over on the beach. Of course, there were fresh banana skins too, to ignite your imagination.
I asked Zul while he was resting on the floor mat by the tent, “What do you think?”, I did not convey fully what I meant. “Think of what? About the heaps of rubbish?”, he responded. He was sort of understood my gesticulation. “Yes, you are right!”, I was invigorated as he made a remark, “Are you asking me to clean the beach with you?”. I nodded, and he turned quiet for a while, then he asked, “When?”. I replied, “No delay, now”.
So, the two of us began the cleaning exercise by picking the water bottles, filling into the garbage bags one by one. There were just too much bottles strewn on the beach (see the photos, and you would be appalled too). Looking at the accumulated amount of litters, the island appeared to have not been cleaned for very long. It may not have been cleaned at all ever, we suspect. After some tens of full bags, we only wondered an appropriate way to dispose the waste. We were in an isolated, uninhabited island. There is no garbage truck to remove the garbage, no dumping ground to bury the rubbish and we could not lit a flame to incinerate the accumulated bags of garbage either. The best way we thought was, lifting all of them to the boat, a fishing boat that will later carry us back to the mainland. And presumably these garbage bags could be disposed of appropriately in the mainland.
Then came one fellow friend, as we told her our intended idea. “No, please do not load the garbage to the boat and expect them to be disposed in mainland”, she interjected quite furiously, “No, no, it’s a bad idea!”. We were astounded by her rouse of furious response. We wondered what went wrong with our idea.
Then, we came to know that they had once had the common idea and acted alike. The garbage bags were loaded to the boat by them. Half way puffing through the deep ocean, a fisherman, the crew of the fishing boat alighted to the chambered deck that spanned to the hull, pulled the heap of garbage bags that were piled up, lifted up one by one and drop them into the sea. Good bye, garbage all drown down into the sea. Of course, this fellow friend and her group were obviously shocked with dismay. You can’t drop heaps of garbage especially in staggered bags into the sea. Whatever flows out to the sea will flow back to the shore. We also came to realise that the acts of the fishermen from the surround mainland were one of the factors that contributed to the litter on the beach.
When one has a low civic conscience, the moral sense tends not able to function well. It fails to tell what is right and wrong for being acted in such a way. In keeping the island clean, it is all about a duty of care. Responsibility underlies with the public. The local municipality council also shares a great part of it, but it seems the local council is acquitting condemn for not performing their duty.
That afternoon, Zul had a backpain, as a cause of several hours bend on the back to pick garbage. I told him, “You had exchanged your pain with a more clean shore, worth it”.
In Malaysia, we may still face a problem of hard to understand and deal with – litterbug syndrome. Many people still can’t deter themselves from conveniently litter on the beach as they take stride on the pristine shore. Comparably, if you think that the all the beaches in Europe are clean with a grant of blue flag, then, you are wrong. There are litters, but it is a waste of another form – used condoms. A shocking evidence, you will find in disgust plenty of used condoms thrown into the intervening cleft of the rocks by the bay, if you really inspect their beach.