New task force to tackle water pollution


Rubbish found on the banks of Sungai Tebrau.

A TASK force has been set up by the Johor government to coordinate efforts from various departments to reduce water pollution.

State tourism, environment, heritage and culture committee chairman K. Raven Kumar said the River Pollution Enforcement and Monitoring Task Force was set up last month, following his visit to Sungai Tebrau.

“Johor Baru’s Sungai Tebrau and Sungai Skudai are among the most polluted in Malaysia,” he said during the launch of the Clean Johor@Sungai Tebrau programme.

He noted that the amount of rubbish collected by the state Drainage and Irrigation Department from Sungai Tebrau and Sungai Skudai came up to more than 500 tonnes a year.

“The cost to fish out the rubbish stands at about RM650,000.

Onn Hafiz (right) and Raven fishing out rubbish from Sungai Tebrau. — Photos: THOMAS YONG/The StarOnn Hafiz (right) and Raven fishing out rubbish from Sungai Tebrau. — Photos: THOMAS YONG/The Star

“Meanwhile, Johor Baru City Council collects 900 tonnes of rubbish from Sungai Tebrau yearly,” he pointed out.

Raven said the task force would carry out studies to find the best way to deal with rubbish in rivers statewide as well as coordinate enforcement and monitoring efforts.

Also present at the Clean Johor@Sungai Tebrau programme was Johor Mentri Besar Datuk Onn Hafiz Ghazi, who said the state was out to fulfil its “100 days Clean Johor” initiative that was launched simultaneously in all districts.

“We will clean up every town, road, district and river.

“This task does not fall just on the shoulders of the state agencies, but on every Johorean,” added Onn Hafiz.

Sungai Tebrau, which used to be clean and rich with marine life, was categorised as the 53rd dirtiest river in the world in 2021 by non-governmental organisation (NGO) Ocean Cleanup.

Meanwhile, Sungai Skudai has often been in the news for various complaints of pollution from residents living nearby aside from environmental NGOs.

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