Our rivers are an embarrassment

Mounds of rubbish trapped in Sungai Gombak in Kuala Lumpur. FILE PIC

RECENTLY, I went to Melaka for a short vacation.

While planning our schedule, my friend said, “Let’s only have a walk by the river at night so that we would not see the dirty river filled with rubbish”.

True enough, the river was murky but we were enjoying the night breeze along the river.

We could see plastic bottles and other rubbish floating in some parts of the river.

The view was worse during the day as the river looked greenish-brown with more rubbish spotted.

Since it is a popular tourist area, I believe the situation is under control.

But I couldn’t help wondering how Sungai Kim Kim in Johor looked like.

News reports on river pollution have appeared almost every month.

The most severe case is in Pasir Gudang, Johor, where around 1,000 people were affected.

River pollution has also been reported in Melaka and Perak.

Recently, the water treatment plant in Selangor was closed for the second time in three days due to river pollution.

It is sad that river pollution is a common issue in Malaysia. To better protect our rivers, we have to understand their importance.

A report by the Asean Integrated Water Resources Management stated that 98 per cent of the potable water supply comes from rivers and dams.

A polluted river does not only affect the residents nearby but also our water supply.

The closure of water treatment plants in Selangor is the best example of its consequences.

With the issue becoming more serious, a comprehensive plan is needed.

Enforcement should be the key. Haul the polluter to court to deter others.

As the proverb goes, “prevention is better than cure”.

Better surveillance is needed to tackle the situation.

One reason for the frequent news of river pollution is that more people are aware of environmental degradation.

This is important as public pressure will keep authorities on their toes.

As my friends and I strolled along Sungai Melaka, we picked up rubbish on the ground.

It is a simple action but we were satisfied knowing that we have played a part in improving the environment. Together, we can protect our rivers, a vital resource of our lives.

By LIEW YIT WEY

Read more @ https://www.nst.com.my/opinion/letters/2019/07/508334/our-rivers-are-embarrassment

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