Squad to monitor three river basins round the clock

Izham (right) planting a weeping willow with Noraini at the Sungai Klang riverbank off Jalan Industry USJ 1/2 in Subang Jaya. — FAIHAN GHANI/The Star

A river patrolling unit has been established under a pilot plan to set up active surveillance along rivers and detect illegal activities that can endanger water quality.

Selangor public amenities, agricultural modernisation and agro-based industry committee chairman Izham Hashim said the River Action Squad (RAC) was formed to conduct 24-hour surveillance on sensitive water bodies at three river basins – Lembangan Sungai Selangor, Sungai Langat and Sungai Klang.

“The state government wanted to empower the enforcement on water sources and Selangor State Executive Council decided to have Luas (Selangor Water Management Authority) form a river patrolling unit to carry out surveillance at river watersheds, basins and streams, ” he said.

Izham, who attended the state-level World Rivers Day 2020 celebrations at Jalan Industry USJ 1/2 organised by Subang Jaya Municipal Council (MPSJ), said RAC was much needed to monitor illegal activities along streams and rivers that may risk polluting the water source and force the water treatment plant to shut down.

“RAC strengthens the Selangor government’s initiative to empower Ops Sumber Air that began in March last year, involving various government agencies, ” he noted.

“With Ops Sumber Air, seven river pollution incidents that had the potential to cause the water treatment plant to shut down were contained.

“With the new squad, river surveillance will be tightened, ” he said.

He added that the RAC patrolled on land and used a drone with high definition cameras to monitor areas along the river.

“Drone-based aerial photography solutions enable efficient and versatile aerial imaging that gives squad members a better understanding of the river and activities that go on along the stretches of water basins, ” he said.

Izham added that the water quality in river basins of Sungai Selangor and Sungai Langat was affected by pollution from industries, development projects, agriculture, animal breeding and building of highways.

“Projects and activities that fail to follow guidelines make a huge impact on streams and rivers.

“Worse still when unscrupulous people choose the easy way out by dumping waste into drains, river banks and manholes.

“People must take responsibility for their actions, ” he said.

MPSJ president Noraini Roslan said people must keep the environment clean and love the rivers.

“We must move towards effective and sustainable management of rivers that meets the needs of the people now without compromising on future generations to come.

“Our children’s children must enjoy clean rivers as their water source, ” she said after planting a weeping willow at the Sungai Klang riverbank.

Noraini added that a clean river started with a clean township and Subang Jaya harboured the dream of becoming a green township by 2030 and numerous initiatives had started, including recycling.

Izham said the state decided to amend the current Luas Enactment 1999, which states that the fine imposed for river pollution was no more than RM100,000.

Luas will be increasing that figure to a minimum of RM200,000 or not more than RM1mil with jail term of up to three years.

“Changes to the Luas Enactment will be tabled at the upcoming Selangor state assembly sitting, ” he added.

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