Education, awareness vital to keep beaches pristine

National 2 minutes, 45 seconds

BRUNEI-MUARA

THE public needs to be more aware and educated on the dangers of polluting and littering our beaches.

The Brunei Times interviewed one of the invited speakers from the recent Beach Bunch inaugural conference, Sam Judd, co-founder and CEO of the Sustainable Coastlines Charitable Trust to talk more on the topic.

According to Judd, the main way to get people to change their behaviour is to explain in simple ways about the problems that would arise.

“It needs to be easy, simple and achievable for it to happen on a large scale,” he said.

Educational presentations to schools, communities and business groups as well as education programmes such as large scale coastal cleanup can be conducted to encourage people not to drop litter, he said.

The current Young New Zealander of the year runs a non-government organisation to motivate people to look after the beach.

But he also has a personal drive that keeps him motivated in contributing to the beach.

“Everyone has different ways to keep motivated. Maybe they like animals, or they have family that loves eating seafood, or they are in the tourism industry or maybe they just don’t want to see other people get hurt.

“One of the reasons why I do what I do is because I like the ocean; I do a lot of surfing, spear fish and eat it without worrying that it’s going to get poisoned. That’s my motivation. To be able to eat seafood and for my children to eat them without worrying about the consequences,” said the New Zealand national.

Meanwhile, during his experience volunteering cleaning a beach, Judd shared his first observation that leads him to being devoted to what he is doing.

“I was on a surfing trip and volunteered for the national park to pick rubbish off the beach. There were no people leaving in the area but there were tonnes of rubbish in the coastline. I learned that it comes from the mainland. And we started finding turtles, birds and other animals that were dead; wrapped up in the rubbish.

“I didn’t know that the animals would eat them (rubbish) and didn’t know that it goes into the food chain and making people sick. But I saw it and I realised that it’s wrong. I think it’s a social behavioural problem and it’s the culture that needed change,’’ he said.

Commenting on the Brunei beaches he visited so far, he found that litter was an issue and that the public needs more awareness on the dangers of it.

“The beaches are lovely with nice golden sand. There’s an issue with litter on the beaches which is similar all around the region. It’s a global issue and we all got the same problem.

“We are all using single-use plastic which has no value attached to it and people are not aware of the effects it will get to the environment,” he said.

Judd added: If people knew it’s poisoning our seafood which in turn making people sick and killing the wildlife (which helps us get sustainable income from tourism), then they wouldn’t drop it (rubbish). So part of it is raising the awareness because it doesn’t make sense to poison yourself.”

The Brunei Times