After many months of idle tourism streaming at major tourist spot, the wildlife is slowly returning to spot once claimed by tourists. However, due to the worsening economy, especially the tourism industry, reopening it can endanger what once a safe haven for this wildlife during the long period of human-free disturbances. 

In Malaysia, Langkawi Island is the first place to open for tourist after it had been closed off for a long period of time. However, a viral video soon surfaces on social media showing Pulau Langkawi’s waters littered with trash. It had even caught the attention of Langkawi member of Parliament, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad. A Twitter user shared the TikTok video with a man narrating how the island has been heavily polluted by people, allegedly taken a day after the island’s re-opening.

Tourism Are Slowly Back in Business, What’s Next
Screenshot of the video that went viral, showing rubbish in Pulau Langkawi.

In response to the video, Mahathir had contacted the local council to tackle the issue immediately. “Langkawi is a tourist island. I call on everyone to be more responsible and not litter. Let us take care of Langkawi, the jewel of Kedah,” he said.

Nonetheless, the Langkawi Tourism City Municipal Council (MPLBP) puts the blame on illegal settlements in Bukit Malut and neighbouring countries for causing the pollution. According to The Rakyat Post, MPLBP President Radzuan Osman explained that the floating garbage seen in the island’s waters had been washed out to the ocean by high tides and the monsoon season.

This is a red flag for our environment should tourism be allowed entirely without any pre-planning. Littering has been a constant issue in our country, plus insensitive behaviour towards protecting our environment. Laws to prevent such things from happening exist. Yet, there are no enforcement.

Some questions we need to ask ourself would be how can we co-exist peacefully with nature while enjoying the wonders of mother nature?

Could we maintain Melaka’s pristine clean river post Covid? During the months long lockdown, Melaka River had time to healed itself without the disturbance and destruction inflicted by tourists. Not only in Melaka, but all around the country. Are we able to maintained that cleanliness even after post-lockdown?

If we do not preserve what we have now, we may never get back what we lost. Let that sink.