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A sandy path to environmental responsibility

By: Farhah Nadhirah Abdul Rahim

The concept of environmental protection is not new. In ancient China, philosophers like Laozi and Confucius emphasized the importance of living in harmony with nature. They believed that doing good for the environment was essential for the well-being of both society and the individual.

Farhah Nadhirah Abdul Rahim

As a student, speaking about saving our planet might seem like an overwhelming task. The United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) might ring a bell, but I often wonder what we, as individuals, can truly do to make a difference. Nonetheless, I firmly believe that sometimes, it is the simplest acts that can produce the most significant results. For me, beach cleaning is one such uncomplicated yet powerful action that resonates deeply with our shared responsibility to save the environment.

Why, you may ask, is beach cleaning so important? The answer lies in the nature of our coasts – they are the frontline against environmental degradation. Beaches are not only vital ecosystems in their own right, but they also act as buffers between the land and sea. According to many studies, beach cleaning activities also help the environment by creating a safer surroundings for the public, providing important environmental data, connecting people and the community, and reducing the amount of trash that ends up in the ocean.

Yes, the SDGs are ambitious, encompassing 17 goals and 169 targets aimed at creating a more sustainable and equitable world. Achieving these goals may seem like an impossible task for any one of us. However, beach cleaning allows each and every one of us to contribute in our own way, aligning with the broader goal of protecting life below water (SDG 14) and life on land (SDG 15). It is a practical and tangible way to address global challenges locally.

And that is the big reason behind the organizing of the “Beach Cleanup” by a group of Universiti Malaya’s Pusat Asasi Sains (PASUM) students at Pantai Remis, Selangor. Apart from collecting rubbish and other discarded items around the beach area, they also organized group games and activities to instil the spirit of togetherness in doing something meaningful for the environment.

In conclusion, I encourage everyone to take a moment to reflect on the impact of simple activities like beach cleaning and its broader implications. It is not just about picking up litter from the sand; it is about preserving the delicate balance of our world. Let us embrace this simple yet powerful way to make a difference.

In the words of Laozi, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step”. Let beach cleaning be our first step towards a more responsible, and environmentally conscious, future.

……

The author is a PASUM student who was part of the organising committee members of “Beach Cleanup”. Further details about the program may be acquired from Dr. Norhiwani Mohd Hapipi at norhiwani@um.edu.my

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