KOTA KINABALU: Villagers and students from Papar had the opportunity to learn about river water quality and ways to preserve their rivers during a half-day event at the Sungai Garamatoi last week.
The villagers from Kampung Ovai and Kampung Kambizaan, as well as students of SMK St Mary, took part in the programme organised by the Institute for Tropical Biology and Conservation (ITBC) from Universiti Malaysia Sabah (UMS) in partnership with Global Environment Centre (GEC). Participants were seen getting their feet wet looking for aquatic insects underneath river rocks and at the river banks that could help indicate the health of the river.
They also took water samples to test the river water quality using a YSI ProDSS Multiparameter water quality meter.
To make the workshop more interesting, various fun educational games on river and freshwater ecosystem were organised.
Based on the data collected, the water quality of Sungai Garamatoi is in good condition categorised under Class 1 according to Interim National Water Quality Standards for Malaysia (INWQS).
Programme project leader Dr Arman Hadi Fikir said the half-day workshop was aimed at raising awareness and empowering the local communities and students on river protection.
UMS head of Water Research, Dr Moh Pak Yan said improper sewerage system, uncontrolled hill-cutting and irresponsible littering were the main issue of degradation of river basin and its water quality.
“We have to tackle these problems to ensure a healthy aquatic ecosystem which has direct relations to human well-being,” he said.
Dr Arman Hadi Fikir, project Leader of Outreach Programme @ Tagal System Garamatoi River who was present to launch the workshop, thanked NRCF for funding the programme.
He also thanked Professor Dr Monica Suleiman, acting director of ITBC for the full support given throughout the outreach programme.