Sunday August 5, 2012
Volunteers take to the streets to spread anti-litter message
By JOSEPH KAOS Jr
KUALA LUMPUR: One could not be faulted if they thought Malaysia had already won an Olympic gold medal, judging by the number of strangers “high-fiving” each other around the city centre yesterday afternoon.
However, the strange scenes around Bukit Bintang, KLCC and Masjid Jamek were actually part of an anti-litter campaign by the Malaysian Plastics Forum (MPF) and the Waterfall Survivors group.
About 20 volunteers from the two groups, stationed around the three shopping districts, carried banners that read “Hi-5 ME! Don't be a litterbug!” and gave high-fives to passers-by.
They also carried plastic bags and encouraged passers-by to throw trash into the bags.
“I was surprised when someone came up to me and gave me a high-five. I asked the person what it was about and she explained to me that it was an anti-litter campaign. I thought it was a very creative way to get attention,” said university student S. Rahul, 19.
Besides shoppers and tourists, police officers who were patrolling the area around Bukit Bintang were also seen exchanging high-fives with the volunteers.
“As nature lovers, it makes us unhappy when we see the outdoors, especially waterfalls, littered with rubbish. So we feel it is important to spread a message to the public to stop littering,” said vice-president of Waterfall Survivors, Dominic Koo.
Waterfall Survivors, a social networking group of nature lovers on Facebook, was also responsible for the “free hugs” campaign last May in which volunteers randomly hugged members of the public around the city.
This time around, the group collaborated with the MPF, the umbrella body for the Malaysian Petrochemicals Association-Plastics Resins Producers Group and the Malaysian Plastics Manufacturers Association.
The anti-litterbug campaign is a new corporate social responsibility programme by the MPF.
MPF chairman for education and awareness Ahmad Khairuddin Shaaban said campaigns to reduce the usage of plastic bags alone were not enough in protecting the environment.
“Littering is a behavioural problem that can be rectified. If people can understand why we should not litter, then we would not have problems of clogged drains and rivers, which is one of the causes of flash floods,” said Ahmad Khairuddin.