Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Clean As You Go, Adventure Race Organisers!

The rugged terrain of the Mat Chincang rainforest, the swampy mangroves of Kilim and right out to the rocky coastline of the surrounding islands of Langkawi. These are ideal factors that any outdoor and adventure enthusiasts would fall in love with. Langkawi is a much desired platform for sports tourism especially adventure racing where her natural challenges are bountiful and still pretty much undiscovered. 

In this year itself, Langkawi has attracted the following adventure racing events such as the Langkawi Ironbound , Langkawi International Mountain Bike Challenge and the most recent one was Raid Amazones, which was held from 19-28 November 2013.

Setting up adventure racing is never an easy task. Safety procedures must be carefully outlined to ensure the participants do not go beyond the boundaries and their well being are monitored. Routes must be carefully planned to ensure everyone's safety. As such, race organisers often tag the competition routes with plastic ribbons so participants do not get themselves lost. Water and snack stations must be placed accordingly to ensure that the racers do not drop dead of dehydration. 

Sadly, the things that were brought into or along the racing routes do not usually come out and be put to where they belong. They left huge impacts on the jungle trails and other stuffs as well. On their path to their so-called "glory", some of these racers would blazed the forest trails and the sea with their water bottles, junkie power-gel packets and Red Bull cans.

 The above and below pictures were taken on 24 June 2013 by a frequent visitor to Gunung Raya. Trash were seen left behind at the end of the 4000 over steps to Lubok Sembilang  after the racers have passed through. This event in June was Langkawi Ironbound

I do not entirely blame the brains and the brawls (the racers, I meant) as their aim is to win. Only a handful will be mindful of not leaving their rubbish behind. But sometimes, they do drop stuffs on the ground by accident while in a hurry. The entire responsibility lies in the event organiser. So, who says that organising a adventure racing event is easy?

Red and white plastic ribbons were found tied on the branches in the mangroves after the Raid Amazones event. Emails enquiring about the ribbons were sent to the Race Director, Gill Mention. One of the emails was ignored and Gill replied to the other email sent by saying, "
je vous précise que je n'utilise que de la rubalise blanche et verte raid arbre vert et que celles ci sont systématiquement enlevés par l équipe qui ferme la course, je suis surpris par par votre remarque car depuis que je fais des recos sur cette il magnifique j ai constate le nombre tres important de dechets qui se trouvent un peu partout et en particulier dans la mangrove, je suis un fervent défenseur de l écologie et je vous invite puisque vous vivez a Langkawi , a vous rapprocher des autorités afin de sensibiliser tout le monde sur ces problèmes, juste pour vous donner un exemple le challenge international de VTT les forets et les routes sont balises avec de la rubalise jaune qui n a jamais été enlevés.
Je vous souhaite une bonne continuation dans cette région"

In English (after Google translation),
I only use the white and green rubalise raid green tree and those are systematically removed by the team that closes the race, I'm surprised by your remarks because since I do it on this recce beautiful I have seen the very important number of waste that are everywhere and especially in the mangrove, I am a strong advocate of ecology and I invite you as you live in Langkawi, get closer to the authorities to educate everyone about these issues, just to give you an example of the international challenge of forests and mountain bike routes are tags with yellow barrier tape that was never removed. I wish you good luck in this region."

Well, Gill Mention... are you sure about what you have written? Recently, these ribbons were found still tied on the branches in the mangroves after 3 weeks of the event. These tags were spotted in five different spots along the channel. 

 Gill used the white and green ribbon nicely tied next to the red and white ribbon

RAID AMAZONES on a Sonneratia tree
This one is yours too, Gill?

A nature lover helping to remove the raid amozones ribbon from a Avicennia tree

Hey Gill, you are right! Langkawi International Mountain Bike Challenge yellow ribbon was found tied to a tree in the mangroves. Glad that you highlighted this in your email. What in the world was this yellow ribbon doing in the mangroves??? Did they bike in the swamp too? These yellow ribbons can still be seen along the road of Langkawi after the events have ended months ago.

Raid amozones should not be using L'Arbre Vert label at all

Being an outdoor enthusiast myself, I very much welcome such events to be held on this beautiful island. These events benefit the island's economy a lot. However, we do not appreciate if such organisers are slackers in practicing "Clean As You Go". None of the Langkawi's authority or government agencies will be bothered on such petty issues. One of them is only good at promoting events and nothing else even though letters were written to them. Have they ever acknowledge or responded?

You don't need to bother to return to the island to clean up the mess, Gill. Some good nature lovers have already done your job. 

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