David and I just got back home from the ‘Cleaner Marina Day’ event at Harbour City in Port Klang and we are still blown away by the great success of this event.
An unbelievable number of 1,250 volunteers showed up early morning and helped to clean-up the Port Klang River.
Around 700 volunteers boarded 100 fishing boats equipped with rubber gloves, hooks and scoops and went along the river to collect floating rubbish.
Another 550 eager participants who did not pre-register just came along and helped clean-up the road-sides along Jalan Foreshore.
When David and I started our Edu-Cat-Malaysia initiative and enlisted as a member of ‘Clean-Up-the-World 2011’ back in May this year, our target was to mobilise about 500 volunteers which at that time seemed an ambitious target, but 1,250 was beyond any expectation.
And when our partner, the Rotary Club of Bandar Bukit Tinggi (RCBBT), contacted the Klang Municipal Council (MPK) and Port Klang Authority (PKA) in August to get their permission and support for this clean-up campaign, we did not know that both authorities would not only give us the thumbs up, but become enthusiastic and active promoting partners.
Port Klang Authority chairman Datuk Dr Teh Kim Poo said in his welcome speech that this was an historic event for Malaysia.
He also said he looked forward to supporting many similar events in the future.
The organisation team, David, myself and the RCBBT members, arrived at the Harbour City at about 6am to get ready for the day.
The registration was supposed to start at 7.30am, but before 7am volunteers were already lining up and by 8am, we were running out of the 500 re-usable bags sponsored by Simpson Marine containing T-shirts and caps sponsored by Mercedes-Benz Malaysia, rubber gloves sponsored by VG Offshore Containers International and a bottle of mineral water sponsored by Alla Fonte.
I am afraid we had a few disappointed participants missing out on the goodies, but once breakfast was served, delicious nasi lemak and mee goreng sponsored by PKA, everybody was happy and ready to get going.
By 8.30am 10 groups were formed with one team leader and about 70 participants each.
Everybody wore the ‘Cleaner Marina Day’ T-shirt and an orange-coloured life jacket, courtesy of the Indonesian Ferry, organised by Nor Azlinda Datuk Shari, the general manager of the ASA Niaga Harbour City.
All groups lined up in front of the organisers marquee to listen to welcome speeches by Edu-Cat-Malaysia co-founder David Bradley, Rotary Club of Bandar Bukit Tinggi president Richard Veerappan, Teh and MPK senior councillor Raju Veerasamy.
Even the authorities were surprised how many Malaysians (and expats) particularly young people from learning institutions, colleges, schools and environmental groups came to this clean-up campaign.
At 9am we were finally ready to rock ’n roll. A number of media and press representatives were at the venue, a lot of group photos were taken and slowly the teams moved to the break-water and jetty where the 100 fishing-boats were waiting for volunteers to board.
It was a bit tricky since many had to climb down the rocks into the boats, but by about 10am we finally managed to get everybody into the boats and off they went for two hours to collect the debris floating out in the Port Klang River.
All fishing boats and Sabrina were back by noon unloading heaps of rubbish bags full of plastic bottles, plastic bags, cans, plantation rubbish and other flotsam and jetsam into the huge rubbish skip provided by MPK located near the wharf.
We attempted to separate the rubbish on the boats by putting different categories of debris namely plastic, plantation and “other waste” into different garbage bags.
The event ended at about 12.30pm with a delicious lunch, sponsored again by PKA.
We would like to thank everybody who participated in and contributed to our ‘Cleaner Marina Day’ initiative and made it such a successful event.
Watch out and check our website www.educatmalaysia.com for updates regularly.