THE Covid-19 pandemic and movement control order (MCO) have made people realise the importance of nature’s resources and the need to care for it for our health and well-being, says Faizal Parish.
“People realised its importance when they were forced to stay home and didn’t have access they normally would to fresh food, ” said the Global Environment Centre (GEC) director.
“KRT (Kawasan Rukun Tetangga) Pangsapuri Mutiara Magna’s timely initiative to establish a community garden prior to the pandemic allowed them to utilise it to get fresh produce.
“The community garden is located on the banks of Sungai Keroh, next to their housing project.
“When people could not go out during the MCO, they turned to their garden to get fresh vegetables and fruits. These were either shared or sold to KRT members and residents, ” he added.
KRT Pangsapuri Mutiara Magna won the Local Communities category in the River Of Life Public Outreach Programme Phase 5 (RoL-POP5) Award 2020.
The other winners included SK St Mary (Education Institution category), Alam Flora Sdn Bhd (Industries, Corporations and Developers), Restoran Ali Maju (Food Establishments, Wet Markets and Automobile Workshops) and Friends of Sungai Klang Taman Melawati River Three (Open).
The RoL-POP5 Award celebrates local champions of Sungai Klang and recognises their efforts and commitments in enhancing, protecting and contributing towards the RoL project.
It recognises local champions who implement the best practices in river restoration and catchment management in the RoL area.
“The Government is well aware that transforming Sungai Klang into a healthy riverine with high economic value requires multi-stakeholder partnerships, ” said Drainage and Irrigation Department (DID) director-general Datuk Nor Hisham Mohd Ghazali at the award’s virtual ceremony.
“Hence, RoL-POP5 was established by DID Malaysia under the River Cleaning component of RoL to educate and provide a platform for the target groups to care for our river and the environment, ” he said.
He noted that 71 submissions were received for this year’s award, whose initiatives covered river adoption or monitoring programmes, community garden, water quality enhancement and best management practices to reduce pollution.
The second edition of RoL-POP5 included a new Open category.
“Last year’s awards focused on RoL-POP5 activities, which was on the western part of Sungai Klang, ” said Faizal.
“This year’s Open category recognises river conservation and rehabilitation efforts by groups outside the RoL-POP5 area.”
The winners and finalists of all eight categories received trophies and certificates. Selected winners were also given cash prizes.
Faizal hoped the award would be continued to showcase RoL-POP5’s legacy and encourage more groups to protect the rivers and the environment.
Nor Hisham commended the communities that took part in RoL-POP5 despite the challenges posed by the pandemic.
“When times were tough, these communities banded together and became more focused.
“We hope to see more communities becoming aware of the roles they play in protecting rivers in their vicinity, ” he said.
DID deputy director-general (business sector) Datuk Mohd Azmi Ismail said: “While we have many initiatives under RoL for river cleaning, public participation is of paramount importance to ensure the project’s success.”
Nor Hisham highlighted that the Environment and Water Ministry had initiated the National River Trails Programme to assist local communities to develop river trails and make them more accessible to the public.
“This is one of the things that will attract the public to a river environment.
“We hope communities will take this chance to build or improve on trails around local river areas and invite more people to enjoy their natural beauty, ” he added.