ABOUT 65% of people living in urban areas are unaware of the fact that drains flow into rivers.
Global Environment Centre director Faizal Parish said this meant that many had no idea that waste one throws into the drain will go into the river after a downpour.
“Often you see multi-coloured water flowing in drains outside of certain restaurants and this shows their failure in disposing waste responsibly.
“Even though it is a small step, patrons can help play a bigger role in ending pollution by not patronising such restaurants any more,” he told reporters during Perak’s inaugural River Carnival at Sungai Kinta Riverfront recently.
He added that anyone who loves to have clean drinking water every day should be aware of river pollution issues, and start playing an active role to ensure rivers are well-maintained.
“Even though Sungai Kinta is considered to be one of the cleanest rivers that flows through a city, we are not yet close to perfection.
“We should care for our rivers so that we, our children and the future generation do not suffer from a dire lack of water in the future,” said Faizal.
State executive councillor Datuk Dr Mah Hang Soon, who was present at the carnival on behalf on Perak Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Dr Zambry Abdul Kadir, said it is time that people change their nonchalant attitude towards polluting rivers.
“Taking a look at the rivers flowing in orang asli settlements, it is not difficult to tell that their community are always taking good care of their rivers.
“They do not pollute the rivers with their rubbish because they know it is their primary source of drinking water.
“Rivers are also the main supply of drinking water for residents in urban areas, and we should be able to learn from them instead,” he said.
The usually serene riverbank of Sungai Kinta Riverfront became a bustling hive of activity as more than 1,000 people enjoyed a fun-filled day during the carnival.
Helmed by the Working Actively Through Education and Rehabilitation (Water) Project, the state’s first and largest celebration of rivers and water conservation was held in conjunction with World Rivers Day.
Project chairman Datuk Saw Choo Boon said he was proud that Sungai Kinta had already achieved the Class II status in the Water Quality Index rating a few years ago, but the quality has since been constantly fluctuating between Class II and Class II A.
“With our ongoing effort to engage the local community, further enforcement still needs to be done to identify and fine polluters of rivers to address pollution issues.
“We should act now and educate the public on river conservation before we deteriorate to a stagewhere there is not enough clean drinking water for the people,” he said.
Participants of all ages took part in various activities aimed at building awareness on protecting and conserving the country’s key source of life.
The activities for the day included River Hunt, Young River Scientist Workshop, face painting, craft workshops and free cycling exercises.