Malaysia: New laws needed to protect our rivers

The Star 3 Apr 18;

KUALA LUMPUR: The Natural Resources and Environment Ministry plans to enact new legislation relating to the protection of rivers to ensure river cleanliness is at the highest level, said its minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar.

He said the existing laws on river protection, provided under the Environmental Quality Act 1974, were no longer relevant for current use.

“The ministry will introduce new laws in efforts to ensure river cleanliness is preserved.

“In addition, the ministry intends to introduce an environmental education syllabus in stages for primary and secondary schools to raise awareness among students on the importance of taking care of river cleanliness,” he told the Dewan Negara sitting here Tuesday.

He was replying to a question by Senator Tan Sri Mohd Anwar Mohd Nor who wanted to know how the country could achieve a high level of river cleanliness such as that in developed countries.

Wan Junaidi said the cost to treat polluted rivers involved a huge allocation and also awareness education, hence legislative action needed to be intensified to ensure rivers were always protected from pollution.

“Awareness of river cleanliness is still at a low level among our people because many still dump waste into the river.

“Factories that only think of profits, without taking into account environmental sustainability, are also dumping rubbish and toxic waste into rivers while plantation, logging and uncontrolled farming activities cause the rivers to be a buffer zone that is becoming more shallow,” he added. – Bernama