Deputy Minister of Industry and Primary Resources Dato Paduka Hj Hamdillah Hj Abd Wahab said that even though the government is proactive in such initiatives, the public should always take their own steps in ensuring that Brunei's environment stays clean.
"Leadership begins with each one of us. It is not about government leadership, it is about us individually," he told The Brunei Times.
The deputy minister said that yesterday's activity would help to create a new mindset amongst Bruneians, one which invokes a sense of responsibility towards the cleanliness of the environment.
He said that cleaning the beach would not only be good for tourists who visit the Sultanate, but will also benefit locals as well since they are the ones who use the beach more often for recreational activities.
He added that Serasa beach was one of the more popular beaches in Brunei and was pleased with the number of people who participated in the beach clean-up.
The event saw about 500 people, comprising MIPR staff and family members who donned gloves and carried black rubbish bags to collect the litter, which has been carelessly disposed of over the years by visitors of the beach.
Dato Hj Hamdillah said that a lot of the trash seen floating in rivers and other bodies of water was not the result of the production of waste, but rather the improper disposal of this waste. "There is a lot of garbage in the (Brunei) river, not because we produce the garbage, but because we throw the garbage (there)."
As MIPR supplied the manpower for the event, the Environment, Parks and Recreation Department and the Brunei-Muara District Office provided the rubbish collection trucks and necessary equipment for the cleaning campaign.
Leading the way for the mass clean-up was Minister of Industry and Primary Resources Pehin Orang Kaya Seri Utama Dato Seri Setia Hj Yahya Begawan Mudim Dato Paduka Hj Bakar. Also present were MIPR's permanent secretary, Dato Paduka Hj Mohd Hamid Hj Mohd Jaafar, acting deputy permanent secretary, Pg Sharifuddin Pg Hj Matali as well as directors, officers and staff.
According to a statement from the ministry, beaches and other recreational areas play a vital role in portraying the image of the country to both local and foreign visitors.
"It is of great concern to the Tourism Development Department that the places it promotes be pleasant, clean, well-maintained and free of unsightly rubbish, in order for outside visitors to appreciate the beauty of the country and leave with a good impression, and for locals to enjoy spending holidays and weekends doing outdoor activities," the statement said.
"We are sending the signal to the public at large," said the department's director, Sheikh Jamaluddin Sheikh Mohamed, stressing the importance of preserving the country's image as a clean, green destination.
Sheikh Jamaluddin added that the department will follow up on the initiative by holding roadshows in the near future, where they will be talking to students to try and influence their mindset.
Serasa beach was chosen by the Tourism Development Department as the first place for the clean-up activities because of its long-established popularity as a recreational area, especially among domestic tourists. The Brunei Times