Pulau Ketam is one of those sleepy little Malaysian islands whose inhabitants enjoy the simplicity inherent to most island communities. At first glance the ramshackle waterfront township appears to be standing on its very last stilts as the paint slowly peels under the tropical sun and time lapses by. A township renown for fresh seafood, especially its namesake crab (ketam). The island’s kampungs of Kampung Pulau Ketam and Kampung Sungai Lima primarily derive their living from the sea as well as tourism.
And the ‘old’ ways of life continue as the future swiftly arrives at the docks. No longer are the visitors to the area just locals from the mainland, but waves of new generations have been alerted to the Pulau Ketam locale by modern jungle drums. The internet, social media and mass communications in general, are now attracting visitors from around the world and with that comes more surrounding businesses all happy to jump on the tourism bandwagon.
But now the quiet little island of Pulau Ketam has a problem. Like all other islands on the planet, the issue of waste management continues to rear its ugly head with no immediate solutions to its catastrophic effect on the planet. Inhabited islands like to finger point to the causes. Uninhabited islands silently become trash dumps as the daily tides deliver a wealth of treasures in the form of the cast off products of modern man.
Despite the rather traditional fisherman’s lifestyle of Pulau Ketam, the island community collectively embraces a surprisingly creative approach to ecology. The use of bicycles and electric motorcycles in addition to encouraging recycling are positive steps they take to attempt a counterbalance to the continual bombardment of rubbish being delivered to their shorelines and surrounding waters.
Waste management seems to always be ‘someone else’s problem’. But it isn’t ‘someone else’s’ problem, it’s everyone’s problem. The best we can do individually as well as a community is to do our part by disposing of waste properly and recycling. And perhaps we can try to be less judgmental of those communities whose resources are sometimes limited.
I applaud Pulau Ketam and their community efforts and hope to see them survive the future as they continue to give us a wonderful glimpse of their past.
For more info about Pulau Ketam or and their tours or homestay options..
www.pulauketam.com or www.facebook.com/pulauketam.my
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*This is my fourth post for Tourism Selangor’s #TSBreakAway