Learning all about river care

Jamil signing the Urban River Open Classroom plaque at Taman Pengkalan Kampar, Klang, during the launch of the programme.

GLOBAL Environment Centre (GEC), Drainage and Irrigation Department (DID), Klang Municipal Council (MPK) and the local community have come together in a strategic partnership for the benefit of Selangor’s waterways and to enhance public awareness on the importance of caring for rivers.

The Sungai Klang Urban River Open Classroom launched last month is a hands-on river educational site in Taman Pengkalan Kampar, Klang.

People in the area can now learn and explore effective ways to care for the river, especially on monitoring and protecting its water quality.

The activity is supported by the Mainstreaming of Biodiversity Conservation into River Management Project implemented by DID, as well as United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). It is funded by Global Environment Facility (GEF) with GEC as the implementing partner.

In his address at the event, DID river basin management division director Datuk Jamil Shaari said, “While DID is primarily responsible for the care of rivers from a technical standpoint, the soft approach is as vital to ensure we achieve our river health targets.

“The involvement of local communities living near rivers is a key enabler to the effectiveness and success of all river care efforts.”

He expressed hope that through this project, greater emphasis would be given to the importance of river care and the biodiversity within the river and along the riverbanks.

Jamil said the project highlighted the negative effects of invasive species — including plants, animals, pathogens and other organisms — that disrupt the food chain and cause riverbank erosion while resulting in water quality degradation.

“DID appeals to all quarters to work towards becoming citizens of knowledge, which can lead us to act wisely and keep from polluting or destroying rivers and the environment,” he said.

He congratulated River Ranger Sungai Pinang — the first River Ranger community in Malaysia — and GEC for keeping the movement alive and active for the past 10 years.

MPK president Dr Ahmad Fadzli Ahmad Tajuddin thanked Selangor DID for selecting Klang as part of the pilot project.

Ahmad Fadzli also acknowledged GEC’s partnership with MPK since 2010 through the River Ranger programme, which resulted in the setting up of River Ranger Sungai Udang.

In 2015, the cooperation between MPK and GEC also led to the setting up of the Flood Ranger squad and subsequently, the publication of “Module on Role of Community in Integrated River Basin Management” as well as the launch of the Smart Ranger programme in schools in 2019.

The Sungai Klang Urban River Open Classroom event included a visit to the new Open Classroom, a safety briefing and water quality monitoring by River Ranger Kampung Sungai Pinang, Klang.

For details on GEC’s river conservation efforts, visit www.gec.org.my or email outreach@gec.org.my

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