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Gurney Drive Clean-Up Event: Thousands participate from all over Penang

Last September, I joined Mark and his parents for the Adopt-A-Highway program in Minnesota, where we walked along the side of a highway and picked up trash.  To return the favour, I asked him to help clean-up Penang....

In conjunction with Earth Day, the Penang State government organised a large scale clean-up at three coastal areas: Gurney Drive, Tanjung Bungah and Batu Ferringhi.  We thought it would be more fun (and less work for us) if we invited our friends as well as members from the NGO we are working for to form a team.  We were pleasantly surprised when 40 people volunteered!

At dawn, over 2,000 participants of all ages showed up at Gurney Drive alone.  After some safety instructions and long-winded government speeches, we crossed over the barrier onto the slanted wall of rocks that led down to the beach.  We found ourselves standing on layers of litter between the rocks.

All sorts of rubbish was pulled out, especially plastic bags, straws, batteries, styrofoam containers, and firecrackers.  One of our team members even found a sea-soaked pillow! 

The real challenge began as the temperature soared. Within half an hour into the battle, our determination was put to the test. Many groups took a break and didn't return.  It may have been the monumental task under their feet more than the heat.  Our group persevered, but dissipated shortly after.  But even after a shorter than expected clean-up, the 2,000 of us collected an astonishing 5.7 tonnes of garbage!

I believe all of us who took part in the clean-up learned an important message; Prevention, not collection, is the key to keeping our home clean.  A clean Penang may seem like an uphill fight, but we witnessed an amazing effort that we hope will be shared with others.


debi said...


What a great thing you did.

Prevention is a good in all areas of life (if done in moderation)!


Anita Vossen said...

You are right. Prevention is so much better for the environment than having to clean-up.