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by Nadia Zul Hisham
17th January 2020, Sentul – EcoKnights (EK) organised its first River of Life (ROL) program for 2020, which is a log boom clean-up at Sungai Gombak near the Sri Terengganu Public Housing. Besides our very enthusiastic EK team, the event was also attended by 14 UCSI students, 3 of Hot FM’s Geng Pagi Hot and of course, Maya Karin, our program ambassador herself.
After a light breakfast to get the volunteers going, the log boom clean-up finally began. The whole team was divided into 3 groups, each led by one of the Hot FM DJs. Runners were appointed to help carry the collected waste from the river to a designated sorting area which was divided into several categories to help ease future recycling processes. After a successful morning of cleaning, the final haul was calculated: 316.6kg of waste had successfully been collected from the river (3.5kg metal, 4kg paper, 73.4kg plastic, 167.5kg organic waste and 68.2kg miscellaneous).
Volunteers had fun seeing the impact they were making but it certainly left an impression on them. Some were shocked by the items collected from the river which included helmets, shoes, unopened food packages, diapers, toys, mouse pads and even fresh fruits & flowers. It was certainly a worrying sight and proof of our throwaway culture. The most concerning of all was how plastics made up most of the haul; instead of recycling, many seemed to opt for the easier route of just throwing them away. Since plastics take decades to degrade, careless disposal significantly affects our waterways as the plastics will later drift into our oceans, which have now sadly become an infamous giant landfill.
The reality was also a shock to the DJs who later shared what they discovered on air and through social media to create awareness, especially amongst local city dwellers whose hectic lifestyle might hinder them from witnessing the state of our urban rivers. By the end of the day, it was clear to our volunteers that what they were doing was really important.
Despite the unfortunate sight, it is not all doom and gloom. As long as there are people and organisations who care and are willing to take action and fight for the betterment of our planet, there will always be hope. We all have a part to play and here at EcoKnights, we believe that everyone can create a positive impact. If you are interested in being a fellow eco-warrior, do join us for our next ROL program or other environmental advocacy events! For updates on our upcoming events, follow us on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter (@EcoKnights) or contact us directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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