AMONG the 10 schools and six residential areas that took part in the River Care programme on river preservation, the team from Penang Methodist Girls’ School showed they were most committed.
The students’ hard work and commitment to raise awareness and to educate the public on the protection of water resources within the Sungai Pinang river basin paid off, with the opening of the Sungai Pinang River Care Resource Centre for the Environment and Green Living at their school.
School principal Loh Poh Ai said the centre was set up to increase awareness and to educate the community on river preservation.
She said the initiative which started in 2011, witnessed a fruitful partnership between HSBC, Department of Drainage and Irrigation (DID), Global Environment Centre (GEC) and other governmental and non-governmental stakeholders there.
“This resource centre will act as an information centre as well as a recycling hub.
“Key elements learnt throughout the programme are displayed through posters, reading materials and photographs put up at the centre,” she said during the centre’s launch at the school grounds in Logan Road on Tuesday.
GEC River Care programme coordinator Dr K. Kalithasan said with the support of the DID, some 240 students and local residents had been trained so far as River Rangers.
“These River Rangers were taken through a five-module training consisting of theory and practical training that taught them crucial elements of river care. They were then tasked to create awareness of these elements among the community.
“The resource centre is also open to the public but they need to write to us before visiting. We will start the services within the school community first and slowly reach out to the public,” he added.
The RM100,000 Sungai Pinang River Care project was a three-year-long training programme funded by HSBC Bank Malaysia Bhd in 2011, in partnership with GEC to enhance community participation in river protection and rehabilitation.
The project, supported by the DID, is being carried out with the cooperation of the Penang Municipal Council, Department of Environment, Universiti Sains Malaysia, state Education Department, National Integration and Unity Department, Centre for Community and Environmental Development and Water Watch Penang.
Sungai Pinang has been categorised as a Class Three river since 2008. Rivers in the country are categorised under five classes where Class One rivers are the cleanest and Class Five rivers are the most polluted.