Klang River shedding murky past

Clearing up: The Interceptor in the Klang River helps to remove floating waste from the water. — KK SHAM/The Star

KLANG: The once severely polluted 56km stretch of the Klang River has finally been given a chance to leave its murky past behind.

The river is undergoing a massive improvement, with the main focus given to fishing out riverine garbage supervised by Landasan Lumayan Sdn Bhd (LLSB), which is the Selangor state government’s master developer in rejuvenating and giving the Klang River a new lease of life.

According to LLSB managing director Syaiful Azmen Nordin, the total amount of garbage collected from the river since 2019 until June this year was a whopping 87,682 tonnes.

“We are cleaning up the river with several river cleaning infrastructure, including seven log booms along the river stretch.

“These river cleaning infrastructures are complemented by two units of the Interceptor placed in two locations along the river,” said Syaiful Azmen.

The Interceptor is a solar-powered river cleaning machine, which is the brainchild of Dutch-based non-profit organisation The Ocean Cleanup, that is dedicated to clearing plastic from the oceans of the world.

The two units, Interceptor 002 and Interceptor 005, are located at the river stretch behind Masjid Bandar Diraja Klang and near Jambatan Parang in Port Klang, respectively.

“The first unit has been here since 2019 and the second one came in 2021,” said Syaiful Azmen, who added the first unit was sponsored by The Ocean Cleanup and its maintenance was being covered by Westports Malaysia.

Green warriors: The second unit, Interceptor 005, is sponsored by Coldplay, which is scheduled to perform in KL in November. — Photo taken from social mediaGreen warriors: The second unit, Interceptor 005, is sponsored by Coldplay, which is scheduled to perform in KL in November. — Photo taken from social media

Syaiful Azmen said the second unit arrived in 2021 and its maintenance was being taken care of by LLSB itself.

The second unit, Interceptor 005, is sponsored by British rock band Coldplay, which is scheduled to perform in KL in November.

“Sponsorships are managed by The Ocean Cleanup and they informed us that Coldplay had sponsored the second unit,” said Syaiful Azmen, adding that the band carries out various philanthropic activities and has thrown its support behind The Ocean Cleanup to clear the world’s oceans of plastic.

On the sponsorship of Interceptor 005, Coldplay has been quoted as saying: “Without action, there could be more plastic than fish in the oceans by 2050, which is why The Ocean Cleanup’s work is so vital. We’re proud to sponsor Interceptor 005 which will catch thousands of tonnes of waste before it reaches the ocean.”

But many, including the group’s fans, may not be aware that Coldplay’s pivotal role in the cleaning one of Malaysia’s foremost waterways.

For example, PAS central working committee member Nasrudin Hassan had asked for Coldplay’s impending concert to be banned.

Nasrudin had said allowing the band to perform here was akin to “nurturing a culture of hedonism and perversion” and that having Coldplay here “brings nothing good to religion, race and country”.

Syaiful Azmen said a lot of effort was being put into rehabilitating the Klang river.

“Our aim is to initiate water security as well as ensure the water quality and quantity of the Klang river is right at all times,” he said.

The efforts seem to be paying off as LLSB data showed the amount of trash collected in 2016 was 16,408 tonnes, and this went down to 6,177 tonnes in 2022.

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