Operation river care

UNDER the GAB Foundation (GAB) is a project called Water. Its mission is to clean and maintain rivers, and spread awareness on the importance of keeping them clean.

PREACH, TEACH AND PROGRESS TOGETHER

Water stands for “Working Actively Through Education and Rehabilitation”. Although it falls under the GAB banner, it is primarily a joint effort between the GAB Foundation and Global Environment Centre (GEC), and is supported by the Department of Irrigation and Drainage (DID) Selangor.

Recently, the team that executes the projects organised a “Training of Trainers” programme. It was the third under its annual series tagged under GAB’s “Training of Trainers” theme under the Water Project’s River Education Programme. This particular assignment was aimed at promoting river conservation by empowering the communities around Sungai Penchala with best practices to safeguard the quality of the rivers and the environment as a whole.

COMMUNITY PROGRAMME

“Training for Trainers” was initiated in 2015. It is designed to directly engage with the communities within the Penchala river basin, primarily the communities both upstream and downstream of Sungai Penchala. This year, the focus was on midstream communities.

A total of 20 members from the SS20, Seksyen 14, TTDI, Perumahan Awam Bukit Kiara and Block 1 Desa Mentari communities participated in the half-day training session. Participants learned about pollution mapping and river water quality monitoring. They were also taken on a community garden visit, taught how to recycle cooking oil and experienced a river address-finding activity.

The day programme also included a tour of the nearby Desa Mentari residential area where participants witnessed first-hand some of the many initiatives that the people in that community had taken up to improve the quality of water and optimise water usage in their area. Some of the endeavours included rainwater harvesting, urban gardening, recycling and composting.

CULTIVATING AN ACCOUNTABLE CULTURE

“The Training of Trainers initiative is a vital component of the Water Project’s River Education Programme to encourage local communities to integrate river conservation and waste management best practices into their daily lives,” said GEC river care coordinator Dr Kalithasan Kailasam.

“It is critical to safeguard the water quality of our rivers as 97%of our potable water is sourced from it. While being water wise and practising water saving habits are important, it is equally critical to manage waste correctly to mitigate river pollution.

“There must be increased efforts by everyone to separate their waste and sustainably manage the waste ... in particular, used cooking oil to safeguard our water bodies ... especially rivers,” the doctor added.

RESPONSIBLE ENTERPRISE

GAB Foundation was established in 2007 to fund and support Heineken Malaysia’s corporate social responsibility initiatives. Three target areas were set: environmental conservation, education and community. The foundation has invested more than RM6.8million in the Water Project since 2007, educating and engaging with over 30,000 people to conserve key water sources around the country.

The project has produced satisfying results with the improvement of the quality of rivers, specifically Sungai Penchala, which is now at Class III-IV, raising its level and into the alternative water supply for non-consumption purposes and sustaining aquatic life category.

Learn more of this project at www.waterproject.net.my.