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Celebrities Clean Up Kinta River

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Celebrities Clean Up Kinta River

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When Daniel Kok, the Leo Club President of Sam Tet School Ipoh was organizing their school project, Eco Week 2009, he had no inkling that it would attract the attention of Malaysian celebrities.

The weeks eco-activities included clean ups in school and town, seminars and quizzes. However it was the ‘Keep Our Sg Kinta Clean’ project that caught the attention of local actor and TV host Baki Zainal.

MCG2

Baki is also the founder of MCG2 or Malaysian Celebrities Go Green a month old group whose objective is to create awareness about the need to preserve Mother Nature. Baki explained that MCG2 was started when he went to a local neighbourhood waterfall with his nephews where they took an hour to clean up the mess before they could picnic.

“I am so happy that there are students organizing green activities. Mother Earth needs our attention and MCG2 is ever ready to create that awareness”.

The other co-founders of MCG2 are Azizi Zakaria,18, singer and teen ambassador for the National Kidney Foundation, singer and radio DJ, Dina and Miss Malaysia/World 2008/2009 Soo Wincci who had rushed back from her Taiwan performance just for the Kinta river clean up.

All the 4 founding members of MCG2 are equally passionate about going green.

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Soo Wincci explained that “the 4 of us alone won’t be able to clean up the entire river. However with our presence here we can create the awareness to support such projects and that can make a difference”.

Both Dina and Azizi too share the same sentiment, that of awareness of the environment. As Azizi explained, “if my fans start using less plastic bags well I’ve got their attention”.

Huge Response in

Facebook

Leo District Chairperson, Alan Thoo highlighted that the celebrities awareness effort had attracted 1,700 members after it was posted on Facebook. “We hope to garner10,000 members before the end of the year”, he added.

For the group this Kinta River clean up project was their first project together.

Schools Participation

The other schools that participated in the morning clean up were Poi Lam High School, St Michael’s Institution, Yuk Choy School, Ave Maria Convent and St Benedict’s Convent Batu Gajah.

After a short briefing the Leo students and celebrities collected their green garbage bags, slipped on their cotton gloves and proceeded with the clean up. Within a short span of time the group and quartet had collected over 20 bags of ‘clean up’.

Other than the clean up the group planted trees along the river bank. This Eco-Week 2009 is an excellent Green project with potential long term benefits.

An excellent awareness effort by the Sam Tet Leos for which Ipoh Echo is glad to participate in.

1 State 1 River

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ittle did Baki and his group of artistes realise that the Kinta River was also selected for the ‘1 State 1 River’ project by the Perak Director Drainage and Irrigation Department since 2005. This programme is to ensure that our rivers stay clean with a class 2 water quality index beyond 2015.

Additionally it is to implement an integrated river basin management system and preserve it as a valuable asset ultimately making them a source for natural recreation parks.

The Kinta River that flows through Ipoh town has its source from the Main Range at Ulu Kinta, Tanjung Rambutan and flows 100 km through 4 Districts before it joins the Perak River at Kampung Gajah, Perak Tengah.

Eleven tributaries link up to the Kinta River, some of which are the Pari, Pinji, Buntong and Kampar Rivers and its river basin covers an area of 2,500 sq km.

The main function of the Kinta River is for water supply and the Kinta River Dam located at Ulu Kinta has the capability to supply 630 million litres of water daily to the Kinta Valley.

Water Quality

The method to determine the health of a river is to indentify its Water Quality Index or WQI. The Water Quality Index of the Kinta River currently is rated at Class 3/ 76 or medium.

There are 5 index categories. Class 1>92.7/ excellent, Class 2 (76.5-92.7) good, Class 3 (51.9-76.5) medium. Class 4 (31.0-51.9) bad and Class 5 (<31) very bad.

According to Dato’ Abdul Razak Dahalan, Drainage and Irrigation Director for Perak, his department’s goal is to “achieve the Class 2 category by the year 2015”.

Dividing the river into three sections, findings revealed that the second section from Ipoh to Batu Gajah was classified high. The first section from the source to Ipoh was low while section 3, Batu Gajah to the Perak River was classified as medium.

Pollution Sources

The report identified 9 sources that contributed towards the pollution in section 2. Some of these sources were from:  a) the industrial zones of Tasek, Ipoh and Bercham, b) the rubbish disposal site at Bercham, c) effluents from treatment plants, d) the wet markets at Tanjung Rambutan and Super Kinta, e) soil erosion and solid particle discharge from property development and construction sites, and f) domestic wastes.

With the data in hand the department initiated their corrective actions.

Remedial Measures

Factories generating the contaminants will now have to treat the waste properly before being released to the river. The Department had also installed rubbish traps along the river to trap rubbish before entering the river and installed Bio-Effective Micro-organism (EM) Treatment Ponds at the General Market, Super Kinta Ipoh and at Tanjung Rambutan market.

At the Ipoh Rubbish Dump, Bercham, the Department had initiated a Waste Management Flow also using the Bio-EM methodology.

At the start of the project in 2005 the Kinta River was classified as Class 3 with a reading of 67. By 2008 the quality index had improved to Class 3 with a reading of 76.

New Targets

Hence the department is now setting their sights to target Class 2 status (76.5 – 92.7) specifically Class 2B. Class 2B is classified as good but not yet satisfactory for body contact (swimming).

Another one of the objectives of the project is to introduce recreational activities on the river. An Inflatable Rubber dam is being installed below the bridge along Jalan Sultan Idris Shah, next to the Goddess of Mercy Temple projected to be completed by March next year. The purpose for the dam is to increase the depth of the river by 2 m for a stretch of 700 m upriver starting from the bridge at YMCA to enable recreational activities to be undertaken.

Next Challenge

The next challenge that the Department is facing is how to maintain the quality of the river once it has met its desired target.

The Department has already initiated community awareness programmes mainly with schools and is planning to have talks with the responsible agencies, NGO’s and the general public.

Awareness Enforcement

The Department is of the opinion that enforcement is a major aid to maintaining river quality. As an example controlling the volume of solid particles being discharged by land development work can help significantly.

For the long term though the department has its work cut out for it. This is just the fourth year of the project.

By comparison, the cleanup of the Singapore River, a length of 11,000 metres from its source took 10 years to get cleaned up. The Kinta River at 100 km in length and with 11 tributaries should be a gargantuan effort.

The Drainage and Irrigation Department has identified all factors to achieving a clean river. Hence all that needs to be done is being done. It is a matter of time when the Department achieves it’s goal.

The Kinta River was conduit that linked Ipoh and the Kinta Valley to the rest of the world. Reviving its potential sooner would give our state tourism office another adventure product to market.

Hopefully in the not too distant future we might be able to take a river boat ride from Teluk Intan right up till Gunung Cheroh just like the early pioneers did. That would be something to look forward to, wouldn’t it?

JAMES GOUGH