Malaysia: Public urged to refrain from throwing rubbish into drains and rivers

Faik Zolkepli, Winnie Yeoh, Han Kar Kay and Nigel Edgar The Star 14 Dec 12;

KUALA LUMPUR: Even with a RM828mil allocation this year for flood mitigation projects, local authorities are fighting against time to clear clogged drains and prevent flash floods during the current rainy season.

However, there is a better, cheaper and more obvious solution stop people from throwing rubbish wantonly.

According to Drainage and Irrigation Department's senior director Datuk Zainor Rahim Ibrahim, public awareness and civic consciousness in maintaining clean drains were low.

“The garbage snagged on log booms that are used to trap debris in the rivers prove that people are simply discarding things into drains, which then flow into rivers,” he said.

He said a DID study pointed to Kajang, Sungai Buloh, Klang, Seri Kembangan and Sungai Besi as “hot spots” for flash floods.

“Clogged drains are one of the main causes for floods in these places,” he said.

Zainor said that although drains were designed and built to prevent flooding, deluges could still occur if rainfall exceeded the design's limit.

The DID has taken several steps to prevent floods, including the construction of new water retention ponds and upgrading existing ones.

“The department also helps local authorities by providing technical advice,” Zainor said.

“But the operation and maintenance of urban drainage systems are under the control of the councils.”

Zainor said there should be higher public awareness on the importance of maintaining clean drains.

He said all the public had to do was to refrain from throwing waste into drains, waterways and lakes, adding that communities could also hold gotong-royong sessions to clean up the drains in their neighbourhoods.

“Recycling of waste should also be done voluntarily to reduce waste at landfills,” said Zainor.

“As for housing developers, they should implement the Erosion and Sedimentation Control Plan (ESCP) to reduce clogging of drains and waterways from silt and sediment, “ he said.

Zainor said the DID had been working with non-governmental organisations to spread the word on keeping drains clean.

Among the NGOs active in this are the GAB Foundation, Global Environment Centre and Pemandu's River of Life project here.

“I hope more will join in the cause.”

‘River Rangers’ have their hands full with clean-up work
The Star 14 Dec 12;

GEORGE TOWN: Local councils and communities here have been busy working to clear clogged drains and rivers during the wet season, which is expected to last until the end of the month.

State Drainage and Irrigation Department (DID) director Anuar Yahya said the Penang Municipal Council (MPPP) had also met representatives of all relevant agencies to discuss the issue of clogged drains recently.

“We also have a River Ranger project involving two categories Rukun Tetangga (RT) members and schoolchildren.

“Members are required to clear the drainage systems and clean up rivers to prevent floods,” he said.

State Agriculture, Agro-based Industries, Rural Development and Flood Mitigation Committee chairman Law Choo Kiang identified Jalan P. Ramlee, Kampung Dodol, Kampung Masjid and Jalan Mahsuri as the most flood-prone areas on the island.

“The mostly likely areas to be flooded on the mainland are Alma, Kampung Titi Hitam in Jawi and Jalan Permatang Rawa.

“There are several ongoing flood mitigation projects, including in Alma, Seberang Perai and Jalan Barrack in George Town,” he added.

Bayan Baru RT chairman Chai Tsing Boo said residents in the area were planning to hold a gotong-royong session soon to ensure smooth flow of the drainage system.

In Kuching, Sarawak Disaster Relief Committee Chairman Tan Sri Alfred Jabu Numpang urged the public to stop discarding rubbish into drains to prevent clogging and flash floods.

Jabu, who is also Sarawak Deputy Chief Minister, said that besides clogged drains, the other common causes of flash floods in Kuching were silt and sediment from construction sites and road projects in urban and suburban areas.

Kajang council doing its best to unclog drains
The Star 14 Dec 12;

PETALING JAYA: The Kajang Municipal Council (MPKj) is trying its best to clear the drains as quickly as possible during the current rainy spell to ensure that flash floods do not recur.

The latest flash flood which occurred in Country Heights in September served as a reminder that the area surrounding the town is flood-prone.

Kajang councillor Lee Learn Eng said the local authority had been pro-active in its flood preventive measures, including widening monsoon drains in housing areas.

“Realistically speaking, the council has been trying its best to widen and clear the drains but I don't think it is enough.

“Most of the old housing areas in Kajang have small drains, which often overflow due to rubbish clogging the drains,” he said.

Lee said there were still many drains to clean and many were not linked to Onside Stormwater Detention Ponds (OSDs).

“We are looking to install the OSDs in the drains but this is a long process. Some monsoon drains are not suitable for the OSDs but we are trying to explore other ways,” he said.

“Our efforts are not 100% effective but we are trying to do as much as possible,” he said.

He said the council understood the people's fear of flash floods.

“We need the cooperation of the public, especially in not dumping rubbish into the drains. We can do our part in cleaning the drains, even widening it but the people must also play their part,” he added.