To address the issue of river pollution in the state, the Johor State Government established the River Pollution Enforcement and Monitoring Task Force.
Raven Kumar, chairman of the State Tourism, Environment, Heritage, and Culture Commission, stated that the commission was formed two months ago after visiting Sungai Tebrau and Sungai Skudai.
He said that the Irrigation and Drainage Authority (DID) collects over 500 tonnes of waste in the two rivers each year and has an annual maintenance cost of RM650,000.
“This does not include the 900 tonnes of debris annually removed from Sungai Tebrau by the Johor Bahru City Council (MBJB).
“As a follow-up to the visit, I instructed to establish a task force for river pollution enforcement and monitoring as soon as possible. A week after the visit, I chaired the committee,” he said during the launch of the Johor Bersih@Sungai Tebrau Campaign and Scavenger Boats at the Kampung Bakar Batu Jetty.
Datuk on Hafiz Gazi, the Menteri Besar of Johor, was in charge of the launch.
According to Raven Kumar, various strategies have been developed to keep the river clean, including additional garbage trap structures, public support programmes, and community clean-up (gotong-royong) activities.
“It will be implemented in phases and as per the issues, the meeting focuses on the areas of Johor Bahru and Kulai, which often attract media coverage on river pollution issues,” he said.
Meanwhile, On Hafiz said two scavenger boats to collect garbage under DID’s operations will be used in all rivers throughout Johor.
He added that the boats capable of trapping 3 tonnes of trash in a single trip would begin their operation at Sungai Tebrau and Sungai Skudai, where household waste from squatter homes was found dumped in the river.
“Sungai Tebrau alone collected 85 tonnes of garbage by MBJB in January this year. These boats operate daily and if it is really effective, more boats to do the cleaning work will be added,” he said.