Ismail Mohd. Zain, a 40-year-old teacher received the Perak River Icon Award 2021 at the state-level Water Day Celebration at Hotel Casuarina today (March 23). It was a means to appreciate his perseverance and efforts in cleaning the Balun River to prevent flooding.
Ismail is a teacher at Sekolah Kebangsaan Felda Besout 1, Slim River and has been cleaning the Balun River by collecting the rubbish trapped in the water to prevent flooding from heavy downpour.
He has voluntarily cleaned the river near Taman Slim Permata by himself, despite having to wallow in mud teeming with leeches.
“It’s possible that the rubbish were washed away by a recent flood and trapped in the river by aquatic weeds,” he said. “I often see trash like plastic bottles and containers floating in the water. Hence, I’ll make it a routine to clean them during my free time.”
He expressed that the award drives him to continue doing what he is doing.
Ismail received a certificate of appreciation and a cheque of RM3,000 which was presented by the Menteri Besar of Perak, Dato’ Saarani Mohamad. The ceremony was also witnessed by the Minister of Environment and Water, Dato’ Sri Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man.
In February, HRH Sultan of Perak, Sultan Nazrin Shah expressed his appreciation for Ismail’s determination to clean the Balun River and stated that his effort to rid it of garbage can help curb flooding.
Sultan Nazrin added that his effort could preserve the habitat of various aquatic organisms and will subsequently generate income for the land-based fishermen.