Articles / Newsletter

Many nods for high-tech initiative to stop river polluters
Date 08-Mar-2021 | Category | Author VIJENTHI NAIR, METRO NEWS, THE STAR

Unscheduled water disruptions cause hardship to the people and businesses, like this scene in December 2019. — Filepic

THE people welcome Selangor Government’s initiative to use drones to monitor rivers.

They want an end to river pollution, which forces unscheduled closure of water treatment plants that results in widespread water cuts.

Multiple disruptions last year led to economic losses and inconvenienced many in the Klang Valley.

Businesses that are heavily dependent on water supply for their operations have lauded the project.

Selangor and Kuala Lumpur Laundry Association president Tham Ah Wah said the drones could help catch the culprits red-handed and provide evidence during prosecution.

“As long as the culprits are not caught and heavily punished, they will continue with their illegal activity, ” he added.

Under the amended Lembaga Urus Air Selangor (Luas) Enactment 1999, those found guilty of polluting rivers can be jailed up to three years or fined RM1mil.

Malaysia Budget and Business Hotel Association president Emmy Suraya Hussein said polluters had become very bold and there were too many incidents that warranted improved enforcement.

“Budget hotels do not have big water tanks and we rely heavily on direct water supply.

“During unscheduled water cuts, some of our members have had to close operations, ” she added.

Residents living near rivers and involved in river preservation programmes also support the initiative.

Mohamad Halim hopes the authorities will use drones to catch the culprits upon receiving tip-offs.Mohamad Halim hopes the authorities will use drones to catch the culprits upon receiving tip-offs.

AU2 Keramat Community Garden chairman Mohamad Halim Mohamad Said said its members often spotted polluters dumping rubbish and other wastes into Sungai Klang.

He said their community garden was on the Sungai Klang riverbank and many members had spotted lorries dumping waste into the river but the residents could not do much, other than take photographs to lodge a report with the authorities later.

“Often, the cameras on our phones are unable to capture the vehicle registration numbers, making it difficult for the authorities to catch the culprits.

“We, the residents, can help by providing tip-offs and the authorities can use the drones to collect evidence and prosecute them later, ” he added.

Desa Mentari Block 1 Kelab Sahabat Hijau committee member Marinah Minhad, whose residential area is next to Sungai Penchala, said the presence of drones would make people think twice about dumping waste into the river.

Marinah says it is high time polluters are caught and  punished.Marinah says it is high time polluters are caught and punished.

“Sungai Penchala runs between residential and industrial areas. A number of residents have the habit of throwing rubbish into the river.

“I am not sure if the industries upstream are also contributing to the pollution.

“We have conducted many awareness programmes but river pollution continues. It is high time that the polluters are caught and punished, ” she added.

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