Why do people litter on the beach?

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.

Clean up campaign in Penang

Yesterday The Star reported in its Metro section, that a “Big cleanup” is scheduled for April 18. It will be held from 6.30 to 11 am and cover the most prominent beach sides like Gurney, Tanjung Bungah and Batu Ferringhi. “The objective is not just to clean up the beaches but also to increase public awareness on caring for the environment.” Phee Boon Poh, the chairman of the State Health, Welfare, Caring Society and Environment Committee was cited.
2000 participants are expected. If this 4.5 hour event really helps to keep the beaches clean and prevent the Penangites from leaving their best parts of the picnic behind – we will see.
For further information visit the site of the www.penang.gov.my or email directly to cleaningbatuferringhi@hotmail.com, cleaningtanjungbungah@hotmail.com or cleaninggurney@hotmail.com.

Good luck and semoga berjaya!

Arugam Bay – Sri Lanka

Eva checked out Sri Lanka’s east coast. Arugambe or Arugam Bay as it is commonly known by travellers and surfers around the world. Arugam Bay was badly hit by the fatal tsunami on 26th December, 2004, which caused terrible destruction along the east coast. Relief work was limited, since the northern and eastern part of Sri Lanka had been the major regions for the civil war between the LTTE, the Tamil Tigers, and the Singhalese dominated government of the country for more than 25 years. We went off season, so it was basically us and „NGO-people“, meaning a handful of people working for international organisations like the UN.

No cleaning squad needed


The beach was gorgeous. Not only that it was more or less deserted, except a handful of fishermen, it was also surprisingly clean. Even after high tide there were not the masses of dirt, like shoes, maggie mie packages, plastic bags and the rest of the regular nasty stuff you meet during high tide. The whole region was like that, mainly due to the work of the big internationals, who did a lot of community programs on health and clean livelihoods that obviously contributed a lot to the delightful state of Arugam Bay and its surroundings.

Spreading information

ADRA with its water mission for example contributes significantly to raising awareness in waste water disposal. Pictures like this are found everywhere in the region, workshops are held and technical support is given. Other programs focus on community development and tourism and promote a the necessity of a clean environment that way.

Wouldn’t that be an option for Penang as well?

Who and why we are

We are a group of students from USM, Penang. Call us Gopi from Malaysia, Irsan from Indonesia, Hermeline from France and Eva from Germany. This blog is set up both to give us our credits we need for our studies and even more to raise some awareness on the rather poor state of the beaches in Penang, an actually really beautiful island northwest of the Malaysian Peninsular.
Framed by the course “Globalization, CyberCulture and Future Studies” and supervised by Dr. Reevany Bustami we will try to give you a little overview on Penang’s Beaches. In the following weeks, we rove about the crowded as well as deserted straps of sand around the island, snap pictures, take videos, ask who ever crosses our way and present our results in the sharp analytical manner we were trained in at our universities – including a good portion of humor of course!

With our little blog, we hope to leave a little impact on our fellow penangnites and visitors, trying to raise some awareness on environmental issues and preserving the beauty nature has given to us. Feel free to participate, send us our photos, let us know your opinion and/or your on experiences in Penang, Malaysia and around the world, comment on our entries or start discussing with others concerned in our facebook group, follow us on twitter, and hope with us that we might set up a youtube channel soon.

Don’t waste our beaches!

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