“Three years ago it was Muntasir Mamun of this organisation who brought the topic of coastal cleaning closer to the public by arranging Bangladesh’s first participation in the International Coastal Cleanup. He is currently Country Coordinator Bangladesh, for the ICC.
“The idea of a coastal clean up did not come to me over night”, he says. “I actually went to a mountain conservation meet in Japan in 2005, there they first told me of the ICC. I was told to get in touch with The Ocean Conservancy in Washington if I wished to start the project in Bangladesh. The 2005 ICC was soon after my trip, so just a handful of us took part by cleaning as much of Cox’s Bazar as we could.
…Mamun simply took a step in the right direction, and tried to link it to the collective consciousness of the nation.
“In January 2006, I contacted the Ocean Conservancy and filled out their documents”, says Mamum. “They soon sent me a parcel weighing 45 kg full of documents! It was unexpected to say the least. The package contained explanatory posters, brochures, data cards and certificates. But to receive the parcel I had to pay USD 400 out of my own pocket to customs”, he says.”
Funny story that one!
Their organiser had to worry about the tsunami the night before it seems, so kudos to him to having to cope with all that!
“On the appointed day , hundreds of local peoples , school kids joined together at Labonee Beach (Cox’s Bazar) , we are not professional but we have got little experience last year and before. Spilt the crowed in groups and deployed over the shore. Day long program took a break during noon as Friday mid day prayer is holly for us.
We have started sorting the debris after the break. Alas it was quite huge! Thousands of [polythene bags]! Millions of cigarette butts! We are still counting and waiting for all data cards!”
See also “The clean picture,” by Faizul Khan Tanim. New Age, 21 Sep 2007.
“This campaign is more like an awareness program and we want to make sure that the tourists bringing in products, should not dump or litter those product containers here before leaving. We want to make this project big by extending it throughout the coastline and reach up to St. Martins and any other water body. We also want to present the government with collected information and important data regarding the amount of waste, for further study’, said Muntasir.
It was seen that although the bigger waste particles were cleaned and removed, many small wastages still remained on the beach, littered across the coastal area. While asked about those smaller waste items like … nutshells or chewing gum wrappers, both Muntasir Mamun and Hedaitul Helal said they were only wiping those wastes which do not decompose.
Organic wastes like nutshells do not pose threat to the habitat. It is true that the smaller particles do make the beach look dirty but they also need heavy machine suckers or powerful vacuum cleaners to suck in small wastes, and those are very expensive.
Almost all the members associated with cleanup echoed the same notion that their motivation to do such voluntary work came mainly from a sense of social responsibility and working for beautification projects across the country.”