JOHOR Baru City Council (MBJB) is urging the state government to set up an inter-agency action committee to address river pollution in the state.
Mayor Datuk Noorazam Osman said there were various government agencies with authority over rivers but communication between them was lacking.
“Aside from MBJB, there are other authorities with regard to Johor Baru rivers, such as the Johor Water Regulatory Body, Drainage and Irrigation Department, the Department of Environment and even the Marine Department.
“We need a leading agency that can coordinate with other agencies because we cannot work on our own.
“There must be coordination, especially in areas where we do not provide waste collection services,” he told reporters after the Sungai Skudai Cleanup Programme in Taman Tampoi Utama.
Noorazam said he recently proposed to the state government to provide a one-off allocation for waste clean-up activities along riverbanks and shoreline so that they do not end up in rivers during rainy weather or high tide.
“We need to first clean up all riverbanks and shoreline and place roll-on, roll-off (RoRo) bins there because this is where rubbish comes from, especially bulk waste.
“Domestic waste collection companies will not take bulk waste, so we need a special allocation to run this programme and provide the amenities and services to the public so they know where to dispose of them.
“Otherwise, river clean-up work will never stop,” he said.
Noorazam added that the city council spent RM20,000 each month to collect waste from Sungai Tebrau.
“Cleaning up the main river is not under the city council’s jurisdiction. Ours is only over the tributary area that leads to the main river.
“However, MBJB is willing to contribute, and we have contributed beyond our capacity as a local council.
“We cannot depend entirely on local authorities alone to handle this issue.
“We need the community’s support and cooperation to protect the rivers in their areas from any form of pollution,” he said.
He said rivers were once the main source of people’s livelihood but over time, they forgot about it.
“If we can change our mindset and treat the river as part of our home, we can protect it from any pollution,” he added.