Sunday, June 14, 2009

No Need Plastic (Get over it Sabah)

I took this photo of soft coral Sarcophyton sp. (I think) in the family ALCYONIIDAE back in September 2006 on my third ever day of diving in TARP. It is a reminder to me that my recent focus on fishes is all very well but I need to get back into some of the macro stuff which I first enjoyed so much here.

Having said that, I was gratified with the attendance of so many for my talk on the fishes of TARP at the Sabah Society recently. Unbenownst to me, a reporter from a local newspaper was making notes and a friend later gave me a copy of the article. Mostly correct (but with some odd misunderstandings) it was at least good to have the park's fish assets pointed out to the general public.

I've noticed a spray of discussion about rubbish in the park in the news in recent weeks, as well as some discussion about plastic bags in Sabah. I am always astonished that even for the tiniest items bought singly in a shop (a small battery for instance) I am offered the tiniest of plastic bags to go with it. And each kind of fruit must apparently have its own little bag at the fruit stalls. And the municipal rubbish collectors were adamant, when I asked why they wouldn't tip my big rubbish bin into their rubbish lorry, that they would only take rubbish in plastic bags. The plastic bag culture in Sabah seems ubiquitous. At last it is being addressed - it now seems that all plastic bag makers will have to convert their machines to take biodegradable plastic. Just how quickly this will happen I don't know. Hopefully not a whole generation, since the powers that be seem to think that there is no point in trying to change the behaviour of us recalcitrant adults and are focusing on children. ('Speak for themselves' is all I can say, if they think that!)

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