In conjunction with World Water Day, members of RIVER Rangers Sungai Buntong cleaned a stretch of Sungai Buntong next to the bridge along Laluan Sungai Pari.
S. Pravin, Youth Leader of RIVER Rangers, is a student from St Michael’s school and said that he has participated in a number of river cleaning programmes. The youth members are mostly school students and students from UTAR who did not turn up because of their exams. Pravin said that members visit schools and give talks on the importance of drains and how by having clean drains we can reduce pollution of rivers. Drains are only meant for rainwater to flow into the rivers and not meant for dumping garbage. Clean drains make clean rivers and ultimately clean and healthy environment.
The programme was jointly organised by W.A.T.E.R. Project, Global Environment Centre (GEC), Ipoh City Council and Department of Irrigation and Drainage Perak. M. Jagatheswari, Programme Officer of GEC said that they carry out this programme throughout the country to create awareness on keeping the rivers clean.
S. Jayagobi, a local community leader took the lead and got into the river first followed by the volunteers and started clearing the garbage. This is one of the few instances I have seen where the volunteers themselves carry out the cleaning activities. Most of the time MBI workers do the dirty work and invited VIPs pose for the photo and leave the place without getting their hands dirty. As usual a few residents staying nearby came to see what was going on, but never got involved in the work.
Instead of fire fighting, it is important for NGOs to educate the public on how to dispose of their garbage properly; otherwise they’ll have to continue cleaning the rivers on a regular basis. People who throw garbage indiscriminately must be punished.
We applaud the example shown by Jayagopi and his team who are hands-on workers and do not depend on others to do the dirty work for them.