A woman clears trash by the sea at Tioman Island, Pahang, Malaysia.
Every weekend, a team of volunteers comb the coastline of the Malaysian resort of Tioman to collect plastic trash that washes up on the white-sand beaches of the island lapped by the South China Sea.
But rather than burn or bury the trash, it is being recycled into plastic pellets so that it can be used to make a range of products from auto parts to home appliances and furniture.
“Everything is wrapped in plastic these days so it’s incredibly hard,” said Sydney Steenland, the founder of the Sea Monkey Project, a non-governmental group involved in recycling ocean waste
While the initiative does help clean up the environment and recycle waste, Steenland admits “it’s never going to actually stop the situation if you don’t tell people to stop using the plastic first.”
Heng Hiap, based in the southern Malaysian state of Johor, is one of a growing number of companies working with environmentalists to collect and remove plastic waste in the country’s waters.
“Marine pollution is becoming a problem and we decided to focus on ocean-bound plastic material,” said the company’s founder Seah Kian Hoe, noting the aim was to serve conscientious consumers.
Conservation group WWF released a report earlier this year saying that out of six Asian countries Malaysia was one of the leading consumers of plastic packaging, at around 16 kg (35 lb) per person each year.
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The report looked at China, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam, which are estimated to contribute 60% of the roughly 8 million tonnes of plastic that enters the world’s oceans each year.
The pellets made by Heng Hiap are sold to companies such as Kian, a furniture maker.
“Every chair that comes out from the machine we know that this has recycled part of the trash that we have created in the first place,” said Irene Lim, Kian’s furniture branding manager, in a showroom in Kuala Lumpur.
According to Matee, her company makes use of waste that cannot be recycled.
Several species, including green turtles, hawksbills and leatherbacks, nest on Malaysia's coasts, where the spectacle of babies hatching and scurrying into the sea has long been a major tourist draw.
Indonesia on Friday rejected Malaysian complaints about hazardous smoke drifting from its forest fires across the border, saying blazes were also raging in parts of Malaysia and on Malaysian-owned plantations in Indonesia.
First-year visual communications student Ahnaf Abdur Rahman said the course provided him with vital foundational skills. 'Other courses teach you what to think; on the other hand, ART 394 teaches you how to think.'
Salem Butti Salem Al Qubaisi, Director General of the UAE Space Agency, said, 'The UAE Space Agency offers a solid investment environment and attractive incentives to enable the growth of local companies, promote their capabilities, creating better global market access.'
The initiative available in both English and Arabic languages takes a fun and interactive approach to educate employees on scamming techniques.