JOHOR BARU: The state government will be going all out to raise awareness and educate the public on the importance of river cleanliness.
Johor Health, Environment, Education and Information Committee chairman Datuk Ayub Rahmat said that awareness in the community was an important factor to ensure the rivers are kept clean.
“I have made a visit along Sungai Tebrau and from my immediate observation, piles of rubbish are more noticeable near squatter settlements by the riverbanks.
“As such, we will put more focus on educating the public on river cleanliness and the effects of dumping rubbish into the river,” he said.
Ayub added that there was no point for the authorities to keep on clearing rubbish from rivers, if the community did not play its part.
“We have also roped in youth councils from each district to be our eyes and ears and monitor activities along the rivers statewide,” he said.
He explained that the cleanliness of river did not fall on the shoulders on a particular department but was the responsibility of a network of agencies.
“The Drainage and Irrigation Department (DID) looks into issues by the riverbanks but the water quality is under the prerogative of the Environment Department (DOE) which monitors water quality.
“Moreover, if the source of pollution is from the surrounding industries then DOE is in charge, but if it has to do with animal rearing, then it falls on the shoulders of the Veterinary Department,” he said.
In a Facebook post, Johor Ruler Sultan Ibrahim Ibni Almarhum Sultan Iskandar had ordered the state government and local authorities to come down hard on those responsible for polluting Sungai Tebrau.
Sultan Ibrahim, accompanied by his son Tunku Panglima Johor Tunku Abdul Rahman, made a surprise visit by boat to check on the polluted Sungai Tebrau on Tuesday.
Expressing his regrets over the irresponsible dumping of rubbish into the river, the ruler cited the pollutants as one of the main causes of flash floods here.
Meanwhile, Johor Baru City Council (MBJB) mayor A Rahim Nin, who was also present at the press conference, said the council would be installing rubbish traps along Sungai Tebrau to deal with the load of trash.
“However, as stressed earlier, education is key to contain rubbish being dumped into the river and keep it under control.
“Currently, MBJB carries out clean-up works on eight tributaries along Sungai Tebrau, at a cost of RM90,000 a month,” he added.
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