MIRI: Dirty beaches here, including the one fronting Marina Park within Miri City centre, continue to haunt concerned Mirians, but not the perpetrators who disregard repeated calls not to make the oceans and rivers their dumping grounds.
“This issue really haunts me for the rest of my life” said Iqbal Abdollah, an assistant director of Inland Revenue Board Miri and chairman of Malaysia Nature Society (MNS) Miri chapter.
Iqbal was responding to the news report published in The Borneo Post on Aug 4, with the headline ‘Dirty beaches continue to haunt Mirians’.
In a WhatsApp message thanking The Borneo Post for highlighting this issue again, Iqbal said concerns about dirty beaches are not just about banning plastic.
“This is not a simple exercise of cleaning the coast. I agree that no amount of coastal cleaning could solve this problem. No amount of Beach Racker machine could really eliminate the problem.
“The source of these issues is much more complex and it really needs to start from us. With civic-minded people, along with all entities cooperating such as NGOs, state and federal agencies, the private sector, political will, I believe someday we will be strolling along the white sandy beach again,” he stressed.
Iqbal, a passionate environmentalist, suggested among the measures to be taken to ‘cure’ dirty beaches are finding the root causes and other related issues and relocating thousands of people who live in dysfunctional and poverty stricken areas along the rivers.
“It is an issue of disorganised urbanisation, lack of sanitation infrastructure and adequate dump sites, the cycle of poverty, corruption, lack of recycling that generates more waste, lack of recycling projects, lack of enforcement of the laws, lack of land use plans, poor settlements set up right next to the river, etc,’ he said.
Iqbal also believes climate change and the thousands of people living along Miri River that flows out into Marina Bay, many of whom make the river their dumping ground, have exacerbated all these problems.
Besides that, the general public also contribute to the pollution of the environment, he added.
“Besides cleaning the coastline, there should be redesigning of poverty-stricken neighbourhoods along the river as to them, trash could be their last priority in life,” Iqbal suggested.
Meanwhile, The Borneo Post reported that a check at Marina Beach last Thursday found tonnes of rubbish washed ashore, mostly household items like plastic bottles, as far as the eyes could see.
It said there was no one strolling at the beach except for two youths fishing at the far end, in contrast to Marina Park which is packed every day especially in the evening with joggers or people taking a walk.
When interviewed, Dentonel Misa, 35, a local offshore material coordinator with an oil and gas company who was strolling with family members, agreed that there is much to be done by all concerned to keep the beach clean for use by both Mirians and visitors and also as part of environmental conservation.