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New Straits Times (Malaysia): Kids, don’t learn this from elders

Jaswinder Kaur
Published: Sep 11, 2007

KOTA KINABALU: One example Malaysian youth should not follow from their elders is the way they throw rubbish everywhere.

Sabah Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Masidi Manjun hopes school children will take seriously the lessons they are taught about protecting the environment into adulthood.

“Go to the central market in the city and look at the sea behind it.

There are plastic bags everywhere. The town is sometimes littered with rubbish. There was a sea of rubbish after the National Day celebration at Padang Merdeka last week.

“People have turned the rivers that provide us with drinking water into their rubbish bins. This is shameful. “We have failed to educate our people. And that is why our hope lies with young people, especially students who take part in environmental projects, because they can make a change.” At the launch of the Sabah Environmental Friendly Schools (Serasi) programme website at Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan Datuk Peter Mojuntin on Monday, Masidi said Sabahans must realise that they may run out of safe drinking water if the pollution of rivers did not stop.

He also received a donation of RM80,000 on behalf of the Serasi programme from Shell Malaysia Gas and Power vice-president and managing director Dick Benschop. Now five years old, Serasi is aimed at instilling environmental awareness through schools. It is jointly organised by the Environment Protection Department, the federal Department of Environment, the Education Department, the Science and Technology Unit, the Forestry Department, Shell Malaysia Gas and Power, the Kota Kinabalu Wetland Centre and the Environmental Action Committee.

Masidi added that large corporations should fund or lead more environmental programmes, such as cleaning up rivers like the badly polluted Karamunsing river in the heart of the city.

Benschop said Shell planned to work closely with local environmental groups and use Serasi to educate teachers and students on climate change. “We believe this is an excellent platform to help our young people understand this key issue. “What they are already doing now through the Serasi programme will also make a difference in the long run.” Masidi and Benschop later toured the school. Its 1,278 students are actively involved in keeping the school green. Waste is recycled and the school has a project to produce compost. The students are involved in landscaping projects and they maintain vegetable plots.

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