A total of 200 volunteers comprising locals residing around Sungai Kinta River basin got their boots wet and muddy by participating in a half-day river care and education programme at Sungai Kinta.
The programme was organized by the Global Environment Centre (GEC) in collaboration with The Star Do Good Volunteer Initiative and Indah Water Konsortium (IWK), supported by Perak State Department of Irrigation and Drainage, Ipoh City Council, and GAB Foundation under the W.A.T.E.R Project. The event was officiated by Dato’ Ir. Hj. Abdul Razak bin Dahalan, Director of Department of Irrigation and Drainage (DID) Perak.
“River clean-up is not an easy task. I believe the clean-up and the river education activity will be an eye-opener to the younger crowd to understand why pollution prevention is important and the best way to save our precious water sources,” Abdul Razak said.
He also expressed his hope that the volunteers will have further understanding on the importance of river care and pollution prevention, and that DID will support any initiatives carried out at their respective area.
“River pollution is becoming a large environmental problem due to our society’s carefree attitude. Therefore, we designed the programme in such a way that it will allow the volunteers to fully understand the importance of having clean rivers in our environment and our society. We hope that this programme serves as a meaningful exercise that will inspire them to take proactive actions on protecting our source of clean water,” said GEC River Care Programme Coordinator, Dr K. Kalithasan.
IWK Head of Northern Region Hussain Omar stated the importance of sewage treatment as part of the integrated river management programme. If these sewages were left untreated, it can bring about more detrimental effects to both people and the environment, such as water borne plagues. Hence, it is important for the people to understand that only properly treated wastewater is allowed to be discharged back into the rivers because it is safe for the environment and human health.
Renuka Indrarajah, Trustee of GAB Foundation, hopes that through this river clean-up and open classroom programme, local residents and the community can understand the importance of clean water and will help to ensure the preservation and conservation of the water sources.
“Water is an essential part of our lives and it should be monitored and protected. The W.A.T.E.R Project aims to engage immediate community members in a monitoring program to interest them in rivers as a community asset,” she said.
The half-day programme involved river clean-up, constructed wetland cell management, river walk and education, river water quality monitoring and a site visit to a nearby IWK sewage treatment plant.