Malaysia: Trash Hero Borneo is asking for help to clean up Sabah beaches

OLIVIA MIWIL New Straits Times 1 Sep 17;

KOTA KINABALU: A non-governmental organisation is taking baby steps in encouraging participation from the public to look after the environment around them, in particular the beaches here.

Trash Hero Borneo co-founder Monica Chin said she has been actively involved in helping to keep the beaches clean since joining the Trash Hero organisation in Krabi, Thailand, three years ago.

Recently, Trash Hero Borneo has been focusing their attention on the beaches at Tanjung Lipat and Tanjung Aru.

“Our city beach is full of trash and on average we collect around 200kg of rubbish per week.

“If our beach is full of trash, those lying and stuck in the seabed could be double or triple (that amount) and it will have a very bad effect to marine life especially the coral reef,” she said, adding that anyone can join in their weekly activity.

Chin, a scuba diver who hails from Kota Belud, said there was a good response from the locals in her hometown but public here had yet to be receptive to the idea of picking up rubbish with their own hands.

She added currently there were 35 dedicated volunteers aged between 7 and 55 joining the activity.

“Tourists, who jog at Tanjung Lipat, are keener to join when they see us cleaning the place.

“We hope our action can create more attention and people will learn to love our ocean and nature,” Chin said, adding she was optimistic that more people would join this cause.

The organisation also holds talks at schools and villages on conservation topics.

Coming up next will be a Kudat coastal clean-up on Sept 16. You can also follow the Trash Hero Borneo Facebook page the find out the next clean-up location.

Trash Hero group cleans up waterfront area
BRANDON JOHN New Straits Times 11 Sep 17;

KOTA KINABALU: There was an unusual sight in Tanjung Lipat, the State capital’s popular waterfront area here yesterday.

Alongside couples taking romantic walks and families lounging under the afternoon sun were scores of people happily combing the sandy beaches for rubbish.

Many donned a yellow t-shirt proclaiming themselves as a 'Trash Hero'.

It was a fitting name for individuals selflessly taking it upon themselves to keeping our beaches trash-free.
The leader Monica Chin said they started out with six to 10 people in their first initiative here in Sabah and now there were 125 volunteers.

Monica is the co-founder of Trash Hero Borneo, which is a local chapter of the international non-governmental organisation. During her travels in Thailand in 2014, she was amazed by the fact that everywhere she went, Trash Hero volunteers were tidying the places.

"I thought, why not start this in Sabah?" she said, embarking on various environmental talks and gathering supporters before finally launching the chapter's first cleanup operation in March.

But not all the volunteers at Tanjung Lipat were locals. Swiss national Roman Peter stuck out like a sore thumb with his towering height and sandy brown hair.

Roman in fact is the co-founder of the original Trash Hero World that has taken the world by storm - with nothing more than plastic bags and a willing pair of hands.

"We could take pictures of the rubbish, show them to people and say 'someone should clean this up! This is someone's job!'

"But that is not true. This is everyone's job," said Roman, who was visiting Sabah for the first time to personally take part in the beach cleanup.

In just a little over three years, Trash Hero has evolved from a small project into 42 chapters worldwide.

"Trash Hero's concept is that we do not blame anyone, or just simply talk about problems. We want to provide solutions and actions because ultimately, actions speak louder than words.

"Furthermore, we are not getting any money from this as it is fully supported and funded by the volunteers and local communities themselves," said Roman, who believes this was the reason for the NGO's success.

At the end of the day, rubbish weighing a total of 252 kilogrammes was collected from Tanjung Lipat - a proud achievement for the passionate group, which consisted of Trash Hero crew members, students, and other volunteers.

While Trash Hero has undeniably made an impact here, many more Malaysians will need to contribute in order to ensure that the environment stays clean.

For those interested in volunteering, check out Trash Hero Borneo's facebook page (, where they post the latest updates on their next cleanup activity.