For all the bounties and beauties that mother nature has provided, let us give something back. With that spirit in mind, a group of IMGLAD trainees left UTM on the morning of march 15, 2010 to Tanjung Piai National Park. The aim was to help preserving nature by collecting abandoned man-made items from the natural setting of Bakau Sanctuary.
I have to admit that these group of youngsters were really creative and enthusiastic. Upon arrival, I was presented with a number of surprises including a nicely painted and hand-written banner to heighten the group solidarity.
Tg. Piai National Park Covers 526 ha of Bakau forest along with 400 ha of mud frontier land. It is the home of some 26 species of Bakau (Rhizophora) species, various api-api (avicennia) families as well numerous other plants. It is also a site where migratory birds stop in between flights between north and south according to the cycles of weather.
As we approached the park, we were greeted by long-tail Macaque which we normally call kera. Don’t worry even if you see so many of them as they would mind their own business, unless there is something in you that they like,..haha.. Other animals commonly found include Lotong, wild pigs, otter, monitor lizards, snakes as well as many other tiny species.
Bakau forest also serves as part of the defense mechanism against coastal erosion, serving as “shock absorber” by dampening raging tidal waves as they approach the shore.
The park also offers facilities for camping in Bakau neighborhood. You can experience camping on wooden platform sitting on swampy forest.
Tg. Piai also marks the southern tip of Asia’s mainland. Not far from the fishing jetty, a monument was erected to signify the southernmost point. (A Chinese lady told me that she caught a 6 kg Talang at the jetty few weeks earlier).
We were accompanied by three of the park’s personnel who supervise the activities. The task was to clean-up the area along the swampy shoreline, northward from the base.
Big or small, light or heavy, tangled or loose – all the plastic bags, bottles, ropes or any non-biodegradable items were diligently collected.
The works were constantly interluded by scattered laughter and conversations, in addition to some informative briefing by the supervisors about Bakau.
We were supplied with two garbage bins with attached roll-on trolley, along with a bundle of disposal bags.
Short of 2 hours of work, the guides announced that it was enough. I said to the guy next to me, “apa sekejap sangat”. Well, the bins were already full and we had to bring them to the recycle station.
On our way back to the base, it was the guides’ turn to surprise us. We were offered to do some planting of Bakau.
We were provided with some seedlings and plants to be sowed. Perhaps one day we might come back to see whether or not they survived.
Lots can be done, however, the aim of the trip was not really for working. It was a symbolic effort to disseminate good values in each member of the group as well as to inspire others on the needs to be kind to nature, rather than being selfish, taking everything we can without the slightest concern for the next generation. It is hoped that one day, the people of Malaysia will hand-in-hand making unlimited goodness to the place we live in.