Why would people want to totally ruin beautiful beaches? What’s the point of not preserving what is an absolute wealth? If the beaches are too dirty or even disgusting, then tourism will no longer last, and local people will lose their income. But before understanding why people are littering, we have to know WHO is littering. Is it tourists or it is local people that ruin beaches? Here, in Malaysia it is BOTH. Both tourists and local people are littering. So now, let’s wonder why.
We think that, in both cases, it has to deal with consumerism and the way towards which our society is going.
Talking about tourists, one could assert that it is because a tourist does not care about the beach, s/he is just enjoying it and will probably never come back, and since this particular beach does not belong to him/her (s/he does not own the place), s/he does not give a shit, but in fact s/he is leaving shit. It is well know that a tourist, as soon as s/he is not in his/her country or hometown anymore, feels like s/he can do anything and not respecting rules s/he used to obey back home. But why littering on paradise beaches such as Lankawi’s? We argue saying that the new philosophy of consumerism is the reason why. First because we have more and more single packaging such as cookies no longer sold in big packets but in individual packets in order to be consumed just after the purchase. The whole philosophy that goes beyond is that you buy something for right now because you think that you NEED it right now, and you don’t buy a big packet of cookies because you do not need that many cookies yet and you think that if you want more, you will just have to buy one more small packet, and throw it away once it is consumed. Coming back on beaches, why on beaches? Tourists may also imagine that someone is going to pick their garbage up.
Same goes with the local people. They are littering because they are also in that consumption state of mind. They buy take away drinks in plastic bags and once it’s finish and they don’t need it anymore, they just throw it away, no matter where it goes afterwards. But for the local people, there is also a political reason, better said, a lack of political reason. Why would they throw their rubbish in the garbage since there is no garbage? In the Malaysian streets, there is no dust bin, no garbage, nothing. So why should they bother to keep everything they have been consuming all day long with them, when it is obviously easier to litter. Besides, there is no social pressure that could make them feel bad about that immoral act since everybody is doing the same.