A TOTAL of 809 Brunei Shell Joint Venture Companies (BSJV) staff – comprising employees from Brunei Shell Petroleum Sdn Bhd (BSP), Brunei LNG (BLNG), Brunei Shell Tankers (BST) and Brunei Shell Marketing (BSM) and Brunei Gas Carriers (BGC) – and volunteers gathered at five beachfront locations in the Brunei-Muara and Belait Districts yesterday morning to take part in a major beach clean-up effort.
The two-district campaign, organised by the BSJV companies in support of International Coastal Clean Up 2018, yielded a massive rubbish haul of 6,506kg (6.5 tonnes).
This is the fifth successive year in which the clean-up is held by the BSJV companies in support of International Coastal Clean-up, the world’s largest single-day volunteering effort to clean up beaches, lakes and rivers. The movement is a global campaign first initiated by the Ocean Conservancy in 1986.
In the Brunei-Muara District, the clean-up was held at Jerudong Beach – which included an underwater clean-up – and Muara Beach.
The Jerudong Beach clean-up, led by BGC and involving 270 BGC staff and volunteers, saw a staggering 2,018kg of rubbish collected within three hours.
Volunteers during the Jerudong beach clean-up
For the underwater clean-up, members from Poni Divers were involved, including Pehin Orang Kaya Seri Utama Dato Seri Setia Awang Haji Yahya bin Begawan Mudim Dato Paduka Haji Bakar, the former Minister of Primary Resources and Tourism.
Commenting on the environmental effort, BGC Managing Director John Cook said, “BGC firmly believes in protecting the environment in which we operate. It is crucial that we protect our sea life and that we clean up bottles and litter left behind.
“Our message through this initiative is that environmental protection is everyone’s responsibility and we are committed to playing our part in sustaining our environment for the coming generations. It is indeed very encouraging to see all volunteers together with students, members of community, business partners and youth from several associations working together towards a common goal, which is to keep our beaches clean and safe for our family and friends.”
As keen supporters of Brunei Darussalam’s efforts to promote environmental sustainability, Cook said, “BGC will continue to organise events such as these to further promote environmental conservation and increase environmental consciousness in Brunei especially among the younger generation.”
One of the companies participating in the clean-up was Mitsubishi Corporation. General Manager Masaki Fujiwara, who was suitably proud of his company, said of their involvement, “We are happy to join such a clean-up. This is our first time participating and we hope to be involved in more exercises. I am surprised with the amount of rubbish collected. The activity served as a good opportunity to raise awareness on maintaining cleanliness of the environment among participants.”
Fujiwara said, “In Japan, volunteerism is becoming popular especially among the youth. We see Japanese football fans cleaning up the stadium after attending games in the recent World Cup. I hope that such gestures can influence people positively around the world.”
In Muara beach, some 180 volunteers participated in the clean-up led by BSM, including BSM Managing Director Pengiran Shamhary bin Pengiran Dato Paduka Haji Mustapha and Brunei-Muara District Officer Misle bin Haji Abdul Karim.
A total of 545kg of rubbish was collected in this effort. Volunteers also discovered the remains of a sea turtle tangled in a fishing net – further highlighting the threat of marine pollution.
Meanwhile, in Belait District, the clean-up was conducted at three locations: Silver Jubilee Park, W10, and Sungai Liang Recreational Park.
BSP Managing Director and Shell Country Chair for BSJV Companies in Brunei Dr Ceri M Powell participated in the clean-up at the Silver Jubilee Park Beach.
Legislative Council member and co-founder of Green Brunei Yang Berhormat Khairunnisa binti Haji Ash’ari, Acting Belait District Officer Ridzuan bin Haji Ahmad, heads of government departments and local companies based in the Belait District and volunteers also participated.
“The campaign provides an initiative to inspire the cleaning of beaches in Brunei and an opportunity to instil environmental consciousness among the public,” said Dr Powell, in an interview with the Sunday Bulletin. “We hope BSP can help raise public awareness to help preserve and maintain the beaches.
“This effort is one of BSP’s six key priorities in Brunei. I am pleased with the large turnout of volunteers.
“The message we want to send is that the trash found and collected from the beaches during the clean-up are left by those who are less responsible about their surrounding environment,” said Yang Berhormat Khairunnisa. “We hope the volunteers learnt the importance of disposing rubbish responsibly and take care of the environment.”
Around 4,000kg of trash was collected from the Belait beach clean-ups – 1,950kg from Silver Jubilee Park Beach, 1,733kg from W10 Beach and 260kg from Sungai Liang Beach.