Written by Maryam Mohd Khalid. Edited by Nabila Shohimi
“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it is the only thing that ever has”. – Margaret Mead
On November 20th, 2021, University Civic Engagement Club (UCEC) held its first plogging activity at the Sungai Bunus Retention Pond alongside volunteers from the U.S. Embassy, Universiti Sains Islam Malaysia (USIM) and International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM). Nestled next to Titiwangsa Lake, Sungai Bunus is well known to be the only river in Kuala Lumpur that starts and ends within the vicinity of the city. The river with its retention pond has been under the care of a local committee of stakeholders under the Local Agenda KL 21, supervised by the Kuala Lumpur City Council (DBKL) with the assistance of the Department of Irrigation and Drainage (JPS).
Encouraging youth empowerment through participation, a total of 25 students from USIM and IIUM along with representatives from the U.S. Embassy have gathered and joined hands in carrying out the plogging activity. Participating along were the Deputy Chief of Mission from US Embassy Kuala Lumpur, Mr. Michael Newbill; EcoKnights’ President and Chairperson of Sungai Bunus Action Group, Dr. Yasmin Rasyid; Director of Centre for Sustainability and Serenity USIM, Assoc. Prof. Dr. Mohd Zin kandar and Deputy Director of Sejahtera Centre for Sustaniability and Humanity IIUM, Assoc Prof. Dr. Yasir Mohd Mustafah.
At the end of the day, the volunteers managed to clean up and collected a total of 21.8kg of waste consisting of plastics, papers, textile, metal and organic waste over a route of 2.5km around the retention pond as well as part of the Titiwangsa Lake. This was followed by a nature tour with the guests to the Bunus Community Garden to learn about community-based actions in lowering carbon footprint and food insecurity through the garden.
Playing A Role In The Care of Community Spaces Through Plogging
The UCEC Plogging with the volunteers demonstrates an integrated method to increase public awareness on community spaces such as Sungai Bunus Retention Pond that serves as a recreational area. Originated from Sweden, plogging is definitely the new eco-friendly fitness trend that is a combination of sport and environmental protection to help keep us fit while at the same time we can play our part in making the world a better place, especially towards implementing the sustainable development goals on responsible waste management and keeping the environment clean.
Through such activities, UCEC serves as a platform that supports youth participation and engagement in environmental preservation through the active involvement of students from USIM and IIUM. With today’s youth population at 1.2 billion, there is a need to ensure that youth are equal partners and torchbearers in implementing the goals toward environmental sustainability, which is crucial to the success of 2030 Agenda. Let’s play our role as the future of humanity and of our planet lies in our hands.