River Ranger Training of Trainers is a multidisciplinary and school-based activity with the aim of raising young people’s awareness of pollution in Sungai Kinta and encourages them to put their words into action to conserve and restore the river.
13th April, early in the morning, 45 of teachers and students gathering in Pusat Latihan Mekanikal Jabatan Pengairan dan Saliran (JPS) Kinta to prepare them for a whole-day training programme which will then equipped them with tons of knowledge and skills to be used in the future. The programme started of with ice-breaking session, hosted by Dr K. Kalithasan - the main speaker of the training programme. Laughter broke out among the participants and leads the event to a great start . The programme continued with the speech given by JPS Perak Penolong Pengarah Kanan Bahagian Sungai, Tuan Haji Abdul Aziz bin Mohamed Yusof and followed by the officiating ceremony of River Ranger Training of Trainers by Tuan Haji Abdul Aziz bin Mohamed Yusof .
Sharp at 9.30am, Dr K. Kalithasan started the River Ranger training module which covers River & River Basin-Water, Man & River, The Malaysian Scenario, Integrated River Basin Management, Field Training Information and Hands on Training Information. This training module provide an overview of what is river and a river, the current status of rivers in Malaysia as well as concept of Integrated River Basin Management. Important information on how to audit and montor river, or namely river health check was covered in the training programme.
WALK THE TALK
Apart from providing participants a broad-base of knowledge, the programme trained participants into skilled “River Ranger”. They were taught on the techniques to conduct water quality monitoring. After the afternoon lunch break, students wore on the boots, carried along water testing kit and here they go to the river!
During the river monitoring session, they were brought to 2 sites, the upstream and midstream of Sungai Buntong. The upstream of Sungai Buntong with minimum development expected to have least or no pollution occurring whereas the midstream located next to Masjid of Buntong area experiencing pollution in which the stretch receives direct sewage discharge from shoplots and housing area. Therefore, the participants were being able to identify the differences in the water quality through physical, chemical and biological monitoring under the supervision of facilitators. This helped to form a clear picture of a stream’s chemical, physical and biological condition.
SEEING IS BELIEVING
Observation on the physical condition of river, including the adjacent landuse along the stretch of river, cleanliness of river & surrounding environment and visual observations are crucial in enabling us to evaluate the ‘healthiness’ of river and factors contributing to the pollution of river. Now, its’ the student’s turn to be a teacher of environment! Students were taught by facilitator on how to do observation and marks were given to measure the condition of river.
We Are Scientists!
With easy steps and simple equipments, participants were transformed into River Scientist. What they need to do is just to drop a corresponding pill inside a tube containing water sample, and the color shown indicates the quality of river water. Color is compared with color indicator chart and the reading of the matched color shows the concentration of the respective parameter in the water. Chemical monitoring records river’s dissolved oxygen, nitrate, phosphate, pH, turbidity and temperature.
The results tell us whether or not oxygen level is sufficient for the needs of the aquatic life present. Nitrate and phosphate, though the important elements for growing of biological organism, if being found in higher concentration, which shows high level of fertilizer or detergent in the river. pH greatly affect organism that can survive in river. Alteration in pH tend to kill sensitive organism in it.
Have you ever wondered what’s living inside a river?
Biological monitoring - Students sample aquatic macro-invertebrates. Biological monitoring is the study of organism found in our waterways. The type and abundance of these organisms can be used as indicators of water quality because all organisms require specific conditions to live.
Students were excited in catching tiny little creatures they have never or rarely seen. Thereby, participants would understand the connection between biotic and health of waterways.