Students join joint effort organised by The Star to clean Sg Kinta
YOUNGSTERS today need to take up the responsibility of looking after the cleanliness of rivers.
Perak Drainage and Irrigation Department Director Datuk Abdul Razak Dahalan said they should start small and get involved in caring for the condition of rivers and the environment.
He said this is essential as the younger generation represented the future and they need to be aware of the consequences of polluting the environment.
“It is sad that we can still see schoolchildren littering and throwing rubbish out of the bus windows.
“These rubbish ends up in drains, clogging them up resulting in flash floods,” he said during the launching of a river-cleaning campaign near Sungai Kinta in Ipoh under the Star Media Group’s “Do Good, Volunteer” initiative on Saturday.
“The younger generation needs to be educated about the importance of the environment. Who knows, they might also teach their parents a thing or two,” he added.
The river-cleaning campaign saw over 300 volunteers from various institutions and the community taking part.
Among the participants included students from Sunway College Ipoh, SMJK Sam Tet, SMK Raja Perempuan and Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman (Utar).
The campaign was co-organised by Star Media Group with non-governmental organisation Global Environment Centre in collaboration with Indah Water Konsortium (IWK) to educate the volunteers about the importance of caring for rivers and their tributaries.
Apart from a gotong-royong session near the river, the volunteers also took part in planting wetland plants, mural painting, conducted pollution mapping and a site visit to an IWK sewage treatment plant nearby.
Utar petro-chemical engineering student Sadam Hussin Mortus Ali, 23, said people need to learn and start recycling food waste so that it does not end up in drains, and later rivers.
“When they know how to recycle food waste, they will not throw this into rivers,” said Sadam Hussin, who is also the president of the university’s River Rangers Community group.
“Food waste, when recycled, can be turned into fertiliser for plants,” he said.
“Waste management is important for rivers and the environment,” he added.
Gabungan NGO-NGO Buntong Chairman S. Jayagopi said the programme was good to promote awareness to youths about keeping rivers clean.
“Our stance is similar to that of GEC, which is to look after the drains in our areas. With clean drains, we can be assured that the rivers too will be clean.
“It’s better to identify the source of pollution rather than solve the problems it has caused,” he said.
Jayagopi said people often take for granted the water they use in their daily lives.
“They think water comes from the Perak Water Board, but they fail to realise that the source comes from rivers,” he said.
He also said a river-care education centre was set up at Buntong 3 Rukun Tetangga Centre to educate the folk in the area.
“The centre is open during the weekends but unfortunately, the response is lacking. We need to approach the people to tell them to look after the river,” he said.
Miss Malaysia Earth 2015 Danielle Wong Kar Wai, 23, who was also present, said it is important to take care of the environment and not to pollute it, as it affects human lives and the lives of other living creatures as well.
“At sea, floating garbage is consumed by turtles, choking them to death.
“Polluted water will also affect our skin and cause all kinds of diseases,” she said.
“Seafood like crabs affected by these polluted waters could also end up in our body,” Wong said.
“It’s like a cycle in which in the end, we will bear the consequences,” she added.
Wong said it is important for people to change their mindset about the environment.
“It will still be useless even if we have 100 ways to clean the environment if people continue to be apathetic about it.
“What’s important is that every one of us should do our part, be a responsible human being to be mindful of the environment,” she said.