Efforts to clean up the Klang River does not seem to be bearing fruit.It still looks like a floating dumpsite, in particular the stretch between Shah Alam and Klang.
Tonnes of waste dumped into drains and streams ends up in the river, creating a negative image of the royal town.
Millions of ringgit also have to be spent cleaning up the river. This year, the Selangor Government has allocated RM3mil through Mentri Besar Incorporated (MBI) to clean the 41km stretch between Shah Alam and Klang.
The amount does not include the millions spent by the Selangor Drainage and Irrigation Department (DID) which is responsible for the maintenance of all rivers.
Hebat Abadi Sdn Bhd, a wholly state-owned company which has been given the responsibility to maintain the river along the Shah Alam-Klang stretch, has retrieved almost 2,000 tonnes of rubbish from there since February this year.
Hebat Abadi general manager Ramli Tahir Mohd Tahir said they collect about 30 tonnes of rubbish every day.
“I do not see the amount reducing and this shows that people are not bothered about keeping the environment clean,” he said
Ramil said all types of rubbish – from mineral water bottles, mattresses, furniture, toys and industrial waste – were found in the river.
“Most of the rubbish are domestic waste and we could go a long way towards cleaning up the river if the public would start disposing waste responsibly.
“They should not litter and throw rubbish in open areas and drains,” he said, adding a more responsible attitude and stricter enforcement against illegal dumping was the only way to resolve the issue.
Ramli said three log booms placed in the river between Shah Alam and Klang are under the company’s purview.
“Hebat Abadi is responsible for maintaining the log booms at Section 23 in Shah Alam as well as Sungai Pinang and Sungai Kandis in Klang,”
Another log boom in Klang at Sungai Udang is under the purview of DID.
He said the company was not involved in cleaning up the 15km stretch of the Klang River between Subang Jaya and Petaling Jaya as no log booms had been installed.
The part of the Klang River in Kuala Lumpur is being rehabilitated under the Federal Government’s River of Life project which involves beautification of the waterway.
“We retrieve rubbish from the three log booms and transport them to a landfill in Jeram, Kuala Selangor,” said Ramli, adding that they work six days a week, from Monday to Saturday.
The log boom at Sungai Pinang, Ramli said, traps the most amount of rubbish at an average of 20 tonnes per day followed by Sungai Kandis with 15 tonnes.
He said an average of five tonnes is collected from Section 23 in Shah Alam because the log boom is defective.
“The log boom at Section 23 has collapsed and it is in the process of being replaced,” he said.
Ramil added that there are plans for DID to install log booms in Subang Jaya and Petaling Jaya to ease the load on the existing ones.
“We have also deployed two boats at each log boom to collect rubbish that does not get trapped and is found floating on the river.
“This is necessary because the log booms only cover half the width of the river as we have to allow space for private fishing boats to pass through,” he said, adding that the company had to pay RM55 per tonne of rubbish disposed at the landfill in Jeram.
Hebat Abadi senior manager Muzafar Mohamad said the company had also installed 30 waste traps in Shah Alam and Klang to prevent domestic waste from flowing into the Klang River.
“An average of five tonnes of garbage is collected weekly from the 30 traps,” he said, adding that 18 more waste traps would be installed in Subang Jaya and Petaling Jaya in the near future.
As required by the state, he said 20 of the traps were installed near all the tidal gates and the rest at monsoon drains.
“This is to prevent domestic waste from flowing into the river through streams and monsoon drains,” Muzafar said.