Starting them young on river care


  • Metro News
  • Saturday, 07 Dec 2019

A parent and her child sticking an environmental wish note on a turtle chart at the event at Masjid Jamek Lookout Point. — Photos: LOW LAY PHON/The Star

IN conjunction with Universal Children’s Day, around 100 children aged five to 12 years old participated in river education activities at the River of Life’s Masjid Jamek Lookout Point in Kuala Lumpur.

Led by Yayasan Chow Kit (YCK) in partnership with the Global Environmental Centre (GEC) under the River of Life Public Outreach Programme Phase 5 (ROLPOP5), the programme aimed to raise public awareness, especially among the younger generations, on the importance of conserving Sungai Klang and promoting unity.

The programme consisted of two hands-on learning activities – the Young River Scientists Programme (YRSP) and Eco River Quest.

The YRSP exposes children to river preservation through fun outdoor activities such as hands-on water quality testing, bio-monitoring and learning about the freshwater ecosystem.

Muhammad Hafiz, 19, engaging with children at the exhibition of recycled products during the River of Life Public Outreach Programme Phase 5 in Kuala Lumpur.Muhammad Hafiz, 19, engaging with children at the exhibition of recycled products during the River of Life Public Outreach Programme Phase 5 in Kuala Lumpur.

Meanwhile, Eco River Quest was an “explore-race” activity that required participants to explore the confluence of Sungai Klang and Sungai Gombak by completing tasks and answering questions correctly in order to proceed to the next checkpoint.

Speaking after flagging off the opening ceremony, GEC River Care Programme manager Dr K. Kalithasan said the organisation believed that early education on environmental awareness was the key to nurturing river care and a sustainable society.

“Since early 2016, GEC had formed a long-standing partnership with YCK to engage, educate and enhance environmental awareness among young children and teenagers.

“Through this programme, children from a young age are able to absorb new concepts quickly, resulting in better acceptance and understanding towards the importance of environmental issues, ” he added.

Yayasan Chow Kit youths (in green T-shirt) keep the children entertained during a storytelling session.Yayasan Chow Kit youths (in green T-shirt) keep the children entertained during a storytelling session.

YCK chief operating officer Anathi Rajasingam said it was delighted to be in partnership with GEC, and the programme was one of the initiatives they had been working together on.

“Together, we are turning these children’s lives around, giving them better education and skills so that they can look forward to a better life.

“This programme acted as a stepping stone for YCK children to manage an event under their teachers’ guidance while empowering other children to care for our rivers, ” she added.

Carried out independently by YCK children, the programme engaged children with a storytelling session, recycled products exhibition, interesting mini-experiments and environmental-themed activities and games such as an eco-brick workshop and fishing for litter.

YCK alumni Muhammad Hafiz Ardian Shah, 19, believed the programme was an effective approach to enlighten children on river preservation.

Yayasan Chow Kit children showing the environmental-themed game of fishing for litter.Yayasan Chow Kit children showing the environmental-themed game of fishing for litter.

“We are here today to educate children on the river background, causes of polluted rivers and ways to preserve them.

“We will also guide the children about river water monitoring to spread knowledge on how to measure the river water’s condition, ” he said.

Participants also brought their own bags, food and beverage containers as a practice to adopt a zero-waste lifestyle.

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