Tuesday, 14 October 2008

Malaysians do not love their rivers

Earlier today, I did a survey of Sungai Tebrau, one of the main rivers in the district of Johor Bahru. Despite the numerous campaigns by the government for us to love our rivers, huge amount of rubbish is still dumped into them. The City Council launched a gotong-royong effort to clean up and beautify this river on 10 May this year. Five months down the road, we are back to our old habits.

Seems that many among us still have the so-called third world mentality.

Waterway full of garbage

Floating rubbish on its way to the sea

Downstream view at the fisherman's jetty near Kg. Bakar Batu

At the Jalan Tebrau (Route 3) Bridge

Upstream view next to Pasar Borong Pandan

KTM railway bridge at the upper reaches of the river

Under Permas Jaya Bridge near the river mouth

Majlis Bandaraya Johor Bahru Tebrau River Cleanup Programme. More pics and news of this event can be seen at MBJB's website.


Fauziah Ismail said...

Salam Oldstock
I find that most campaigns we undertake lack depth. We launch campaigns for the heck of it.
Any campaign would not achieve its desired results if people continued to be buoyed by just the good aspects of it.
Sometimes, we need to jolt people off their slumber by telling them the negative things that will happen if we don't put the campaign into effect.
Some campaigns lack the education part of it. We need to educate people to create the awareness.
In the river case, we no longer depend on rivers for our livelihood, as such we don't need to care for it.
We have to think of our future generation. They may not know what a river is if we continue to abuse and not care for it.

hanitha said...

salam bro...mmg ader manusia yg sebegitu ruper... msh tidak tau tuk brsyukur di atas nikmat yg ader.. dh kena bala, baru la padan muka... semoga selamat semuanya...
jgn kata river, beaches, parit ( tu sebab kl sering banjir kilat) n di jln raya pon org suka buang sampah dpd tingkap kete...apo nk jdk tu ek.... jom sekeh kepala dorang jom.. :-)

Michelle said...

Simply appalling isn't it? The rivers in KL are even worse!

And to think that we pride ourselves with eco-tourism, and we don't even bother to keep our rivers clean.

The Ancient Mariner said...

Some years ago I stayed a night in the old govt resthouse in Melaka town and I remember the sign on the men's toilet read "ke sungai".

Very cute, I thot then but the fact remains that since the days of Hang Tuah, the 'sungai" is where men still do their biznes till today ...heheh

U.Lee said...

Hi Oldstock, gosh! It is sad to see the beautiful Sungei so polluted with garbage....
I will always remember the river flooding old days, I had to pusing a long way to return home.

But back to the river, the campaigns are good, intentions good too, but I guess the schools should spend time starting from junior grades re keeping the environment clean.

You know, Canada takes in 245,000 new immigrants every year, of which most come from middle and SEA as well Asia....and a lot have never even seen flush toilets let alone queing up for buses as well from a certain large Asian country, spitting in public....

But they sure learn fast when ....I saw this with my own eyes...one matured fellow clearing his throat and spitting....these two young school girls not only starred at him, infront of other people waiting for the bus but told him off, "hey! What are you doing? Why you do that...don't you know thats dirty! Shame on you"!

Hah! That matured fellow muka merah la, he sure deserves it.

As well....immigrant kids after two years here now teach their uneducated parents about throwing garbage just anywhere.....yes Oldstock....it has to start from schools, at a very young age.
As well, our cops don't take prisoners, ha ha.

Oldstock, you certainly take good photos...by the way, I once caught a monster ikan keli about 5 pounds upriver....

You keep well Oldstock and keep your camera rolling, best regards, Lee.

fie the elf said...

people think rivers are there for them to throw their rubbish in. just like littering on the streets.. some just don't think twice about it.

Patricia said...

But for the rubbish in plain sight, these would be lovely pix. What a shame that this is the way we treat the beautiful things god put on this earth.

'What's in it for me?' That's the question we ask every time we need to do something. If we can't see how we directly gain from doing it, it doesn't need doing. And this tagline seems to apply to every facet of our lives. If there's no money or other benefit for me, then I'm just not interested.

So how do we inculcate a genuine love for the things around us: a tree, a river, the rich green earth? It begins in the home, extends to the school, and
only then to national level. And we've failed on every front. The proof? Your pictures say it all.


Oldstock said...

Salam Fauziah,

Yes, agree with you there. More often than not, our campaigns are done on an ad-hoc basis and without a definite follow-up plan.

I really hope our government can someday launch and implement effective campaigns and change the mindset of the people, in whatever area they choose, be it cleanliness, road safety, anti-vandalism or what have you.

I'm sure it is possible, if our leaders have the political will to do it. But alas, the only thing on their minds now is political survival.

Oldstock said...

Salam Hanitha,

Yeah, I'm also pissed off at people who simply roll down the window of the car and throw things out. Kalau boleh memang nak sekeh kepala diaorang tu.

It's all a question of attitude.

Oldstock said...

Su, any river in our country that passes through densely populated areas, are bound to be full of garbage. Sungai Kelang is probably the worst.

A colleague of mine who was involved in dredging this river, mentioned that any and all sort of rubbish were found, you name it. Old motorbikes, washing machines, refrigerators, animal carcasses, tyres, furniture etc. etc. etc.

I say forget eco-tourism... we can't even keep our public toilets clean.

Oldstock said...

Capt, memang dari dulu kita guna sungai untuk bisnes harian. Tu yang sampai sekarang tak reti nak ubah agaknya.

Up to a certain level, the rivers have the ability to self-purify. But when we start to dump in non-biodegradable stuff, the rivers become choked.

I was told that the Melaka government had carried out extensive work to beautify and clean-up Sungai Melaka. I haven't been there myself but if it was successful then I would like to congratulate them for it.

Oldstock said...

Hi there Lee,

I understand your point clearly. It's all in the education system. We have to get them early. Teach from young, the proper attitudes, habits and civic-mindedness.

Follow these up with strict regulations and more importantly, enforcement! Tapi kat sini lah yang selalu kita fail. Yes, our cops and other agensi penguatkuasa don't take prisoners. Malaysia boleh maa...

Where did you catch that huge ikan keli, my friend? Lepas tu, masak lemak ke panggang? :-)

You take care too.

Oldstock said...

Hi Elf,

That's what Malaysians are famous for... the `tidak apa' attitude.

Oldstock said...

Hi there Pat,

Environment awareness in Malaysia is no more than lip service. I do believe we have sufficient environmental legislations but unfortunately economic expediency takes precedence. It's always easier and cheaper to dump rubbish into rivers than to properly collect them and dispose to suitable landfills. It's cheaper to let raw sewage flow to the rivers than to construct a network of sewer pipes and a proper treatment plant.

And as you and Lee have mentioned, we have to start educating from young. But this is not working. You just go to most primary schools and have a look at the area just outside the school compound, especially where the students wait for their school-buses. I'm sure you can see lots of plastic, wrappers and other stuff thrown all over. The school say it's not their problem, the parent's say it's also not their problem. So we're getting nowhere.

Outskirt Outreach said...

Oh man, the river is certainly filthy. The government has many people on the payroll looking after the environment, parit, saliran and sungai. They need to buck up.

On the flip side, residents living around the river need a tongue lashing too for washing everything down the drain/river.

Oldstock said...

Hi there double-O,

What else can I say? Both the government and the general public need to do their part. Otherwise we'll never improve.