21 November 2011

Blog | Rivers

So when my colleagues started talking to me about the next Hear and Now… in Malaysia episode about our rivers in KL. I started thinking about my escapades along the rivers in Kuala Kubu Bahru, Sungai Pisang, Ulu Yam and all these other wonderful retreats close to Kuala Lumpur. But I also started thinking what’s there to talk about? Our rivers in the city are filthy, can it ever be anything else but gigantic monsoon drains?

Then I heard Kam Raslan narrate a story about a flood in Kuala Kubu Bahru caused by a man named Sir Cecil Ranking and of Yap Ah Loy and crocodiles at the confluence of the Klang and Gombak rivers. The kind of stories, legends and metaphors we should keep sharing and telling our kids so that we will not be a nation of people who take our rivers for granted.

KL was created and built around the river. It was prosperous because the Klang and Gombak rivers allowed our city founders and merchants to move goods, tins and life stock. Yet today we often refer and treat our rivers like monsoon drains. Because we often see neighbourhood drains as dumping sites, it has also become the way in which we treat our rivers. The rubbish and state of the Klang and Gombak rivers that flow through Kuala Lumpur are a perfect indication of that behaviour. Maybe the first thing we need to do is stop calling our rivers flowing in our backyards and cities monsoon drains. On a daily basis in our homes we must make sure our rubbish does not end up in our rivers. Throw rubbish and household waste in our bins, not drains! – I can see a public campaign shaping up just with that notion.

This episode reminds us about how rivers bring life to our city. And in effort to find out more about whether or not we can restore and revive our rivers again, Kam Raslan speaks to anglers who are dreaming of the day they could fish in the city again, the Department of Irrigation and Drainage (DID) and DBKL who have a gargantuan task ahead of them not only from an infrastructure and enforcement point of view but also in public awareness and education. And a surprising discovery of hope through a pioneer private initiated river vitalisation project carried out by Guinness Anchor Berhad together with the Global Environment Centre and communities living around the Sungai Way, in Petaling Jaya. And so this is one of those topics we should never stop talking and thinking about for the simple reason; rivers bring life.

Listen to the podcast.