Poultry farmer Shahnur Nazri, 30, showing the difference in color between normal water (left) and the water he took from the rivers and pond at Kampung Tuan Sheh, Kota Tinggi here. Pix by: NORBAITI PHAHARORADZI/TheStar.
JOHOR BARU: There must be strong political will by the government to deal with pollution and the issue of cleaning up the rivers in Johor.
The Malaysian Nature Society (MNS) Johor chairman Vincent Chow said the state government, over the years, had organised various campaigns and allocated money to save the rivers but there was no improvement.
“It is good that the state government wants to focus on protecting the environment, in particular the rivers here.
“But the main issue is getting everyone involved especially the public to move in the same direction,” he added.
Chow said that while charging fees to factories or anyone found polluting the rivers was the right approach, the state government should focus on educating the public on keeping rivers clean.
He said carrying out enforcement action to deal with factories polluting rivers was ideal but many departments or agencies did not have the manpower to constantly monitor rivers.
“There are hundreds or even thousands of factories and villages located along the main rivers in Johor that have been polluting our rivers for a long time.
“How will the agencies know which one is guilty of polluting the river.
“Creating awareness and educating people is important as once they realise their mistake, then they will be able to help protect the environment,” he said.
He added that the government must be aggressive in its campaigns and use various platforms and the media to reach out to the public.
“Instead of targeting certain groups to be part of such policy, the state government should get everyone especially the public as it is our responsibility to protect our environment.
It was recently reported that the state government will introduce a wellbeing policy by the third quarter of the year aimed at protecting and keeping the environment clean.
Johor Health, Environment, Education, and Information committee chairman Datuk Ayub Rahmat said a study on the new policy known as Dasar Kelestarian Alam had five key initiatives which are conservation of natural resources, green economy, upgrading the management system, empowering the rakyat and promoting a prudent lifestyle.