Villagers clean up 3,000kg of waste from Semporna


Villagers of Kg Larapan Hujung posing with Reef Check Malaysia representatives and other parties involved in the clean-up. – Photo by Reef Check Malaysia

SEMPORNA (March 2): In a heartening display of community spirit and environmental responsibilities, residents of Kampung Larapan Hujung in Semporna came together for a clean-up effort.

With around 70 adults and 50 children participating, the community united to address the pressing issue of waste management plaguing their island.

The clean-up initiative saw members of the Larapan community thoroughly collecting trash from various locations, including in front of houses, community hall and below stilt houses.

Despite the challenges posed by the accumulation of waste, the community’s determination triumphed, resulting in the collection of nearly 300 garbage bags and gunny sacks amounted to approximately 3,000 kilograms of waste.

This initiative was the third major cleanup conducted in Kg Larapan Hujung with past records of about 1,800 kg of trash collected in May 2022 and more than 700 kg in September 2023.

The type of trash collected comprised plastic bottles and other forms of plastic debris. Additionally, the clean-up unearthed various other items such as diapers, clothing and electronic appliances, underscoring the diverse range of waste polluting Larapan’s water.

Reef Check Malaysia programme manager Adzmin Fatta said in addition to the cleanup, the Larapan community is closely collaborating with Reef Check Malaysia for waste management, including daily waste collection.

“Approximately 105 households are involved, with residents segregating their trash for daily collection by the local waste management team. On average, 661 kg of waste is collected and prevented from reaching the sea every month on Larapan.

“These efforts are crucial for an island rich in reefs like Larapan. Our annual survey report for reef status in 2023 revealed that Larapan has 56.38 percent live coral cover and is in good condition. It ranks as the second highest in Semporna after Sipadan Island.

“We are also building marine conservation leaders on the island through the Larapan Marine Conservation Group. In addition to training them as scuba divers, the youth also receive training in coral restoration and conservation.

“Recently, they deployed 10 spider frames and more than 400 bottle reefs, amounting to over 1000 corals. These are the initial steps to engage the islanders in managing their island and marine resources,” said Adzmin.

Meanwhile, Kg Larapan Hujung village head Ramlan Hayawan said the villagers were excited to be part of the clean-up program.

“We are immensely proud of the collaborative effort displayed by the residents of Larapan. The success of this clean-up initiative was made possible by the Semporna Reef Check Malaysia, Tourism Jetty, Semporna District Office and Council, and Amwil Deslen Management and Supplies PLT for successfully making the clean-up initiative.

“This clean-up initiative not only demonstrates our commitment to preserving the natural beauty of our island which is aligned with the vision for cleaner Semporna by the District Officer, but also serves as a testament to the strength of our community when we come together for a common cause,” he said.

“We are grateful for the level of participation among the community, especially the kids. Hopefully, through this initiative, they will be exposed to marine pollution issues and grow up understanding how wrong it is to pollute the sea with trash, especially plastic,” said Rinta Parintamin, a local villager.