JOHOR BARU: A study and rehabilitation efforts will be conducted to convert Sungai Kim Kim into a recreational and more people-friendly area.
The project, involving four local universities – Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM), Universiti Tun Hussein Onn (UTHM), Universiti Teknikal Malaysia Melaka (UTeM) and Universiti Sains Islam Malaysia (Usim) – is fully backed by the Johor state government and is expected to take at least two years to complete.
The 15km-river in Pasir Gudang here was in the spotlight following toxic pollution incidents in March and June last year, which affected more than 5,000 residents including students.
Johor Health and Environment committee chairman R. Vidyananthan said each university would be tackling different parts of the river, which flows through residential and industrial areas.
He said the state government, through its Environment Department and Irrigation and Drainage Department, would be taking a lead role in the project.
“The Sungai Kim Kim project is the first of such rehabilitation efforts to be carried out in Johor’s rivers and will be carried out in phases.“Mentri Besar Datuk Hasni Mohammad has given his approval and we will propose through our state environment agencies that this project be included in the upcoming Johor Budget 2021,” he told a press conference at UTM here yesterday.
Vidyananthan earlier officiated a public seminar by the dean of UTM Faculty of Science, Prof Dr Abdull Rahim Yusoff, on his translational research conducted on the polluted waters of Pasir Gudang and Pontian in Johor and in Cambodia.
With this project, the community, including factory operators in the area, would hopefully learn to better appreciate the river as a natural resource and refrain from polluting it, he added.
Meanwhile, UTM Centre for Community and Industry Network director Assoc Prof Dr Johari Surif, who will be heading the university’s portion of the project, said their aim was to establish an eco-park along the river in Taman Layang Layang.
“The river is long and two-pronged where it flows towards residential areas and the other runs through an industrial area, where we will be tackling.
“Our target is to cover 200m along the stretch with greenery in one year,” he said.
“We hope that our efforts can beautify and create a green environment along the river and in turn, educate industrial and factory operators to better appreciate the river.
“Our job is not to enforce the law but to educate the public and hopefully factory operators will refrain from dumping harmful chemicals into the water as an easy way out too.”
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