A Greener City Starts Right Here.


Living in Malaysia can be a serious test of how committed to the environment one really is.

It is easy to recycle or take public transport in countries where there are efficient systems set up to make such things extremely convenient. However, closer to home in Kuala Lumpur, it  may require more effort on the individual’s part.

In the USA, recycling was a matter of putting all recyclebles, unsorted, in a blue bin by the side of the road on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. Any effort on my part was minimal at best and recycling wasn’t even something people talked about because everyone just did it.

Now that I live in KL, recycling means taking the time to sort through my rubbish, storing them in some empty corner (usually next to the washing machine) for weeks or even months (if you live alone like I do), and then finally making several trips up and down the stairs from your apartment to your car and then driving to some recycling collection point that is probably only open one day a week.

Okay, so admittedly, it really doesn’t take up much of my time and is a small price to pay for saving the environment.
However, I know many people who do not recycle because it just seems like too much of a hassle. Only a handful of condominiums or office buildings offer recycling bins for tenants.

When I neatly put all my paper and plastics separate from my trash once at the refuse center in my condo, I was dismayed to find out that they sent everything to the dumpster for they only had one rubbish collector.

There’s been lots of talk on the radio these days of building ‘first-world mindsets’ and the drive to be a high income nation. Being stuck in KL jams has given me ample time to contemplate this phrase, and I came to the conclusion that having said mindset is well, growing up and maturing. And growing up means none other than taking responsibility for your actions for the benefit of not just yourself but people around you.

It means not being self centered and merely thinking about your own convenience, but putting yourself aside for once and making the effort to help make the world a better place for everyone.

It means taking that extra step and having a community mindset.

So yes, you’ve all heard it before. Please recycle.

Not because some unknown like me is telling you to, but because it just is the right thing to do. No one can legitimately feign ignorance anymore. It is common knowledge that plastics take centuries to bio-degrade (Styrofoam – probably never), or that turtles and sea creatures are dying from ingesting plastic waste. We all know that mercury in batteries and electronic leach out into the environment poisoning the earth, water and air.

If we want a cleaner and greener city to live in, the only way is if everyone plays their part. Clean air and clean water are priceless and truly the mark of a nation with people of a ‘first world mindset’. So please, start by being aware of your waste and recycle what you can. You will feel good about it and Mother Nature will thank you.

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