INDAH Water Konsortium (IWK) Penang has adopted Sungai Batu Ferringhi on the island and Sungai Rambai on the mainland under their corporate social responsibility (CSR) programme this year.
IWK northern region operations head Hussain Omar said the ‘Friends of Rivers’ initiative, carried out by volunteers on a gotong-royong basis, was aimed at caring for the environment.
“There are 21 rivers that are being adopted by the 21 IWK branches throughout Malaysia. We’re inspired to do so after a successful programme involving Sungai Langat in Bangi two years ago,” Hussain said during the launching of the programme at the IWK sewage treatment plant in Batu Ferringhi today.
About 80 volunteers from Hard Rock Hotel, Bayview Beach Resort, IWK Penang and National Water Services Commission (SPAN) took part in the programme today by cleaning up the river and planting some Ixora New trees.
Hussain said follow-up programmes involving agencies and private sectors would be held from time to time to encourage better awareness.
State Works, Utilities and Flood Mitigation Committee chairman Zairil Khir Johari, who launched the programme, congratulated IWK Penang under the leadership of Hussain and Operations Penang head Oung Chee Kuan for their initiative.
“We’ve to take care of our environment. If we don’t, one day we’ve to pay for it,” Zairil said in his speech.
“Rivers that are rehabilitated can become tourist attractions or recreational areas. Furthermore, they add value to the surrounding areas.”
Four years ago, it was reported that ‘black water’ was discovered flowing from Sungai Batu Ferringhi to the sea. IWK, which had then handled more than its capacity, denied it was the cause of the problem.
But after the upgrading of the sewage treatment plant at a cost of over RM40 million and completed last year, Hussain said the treated effluent was discharged directly 500m away from the Batu Ferringhi seashore. Before, the discharge was from the plant to the river.
Two other rivers in Batu Ferringhi – Sungai Satu and Sungai Emas – were also deepened after the ‘black water’ incident.
Today, Sungai Batu Ferringhi looks much cleaner. And with the “Friends of Rivers” programme undertaken by IWK, it is expected to be further transformed.
Story by K.H. Ong
Pix by Law Suun Ting