DIRTY: Part of Sungai Pinang before the River Care project began in 2011
THE third year of a green initiative in conjunction with the Sungai Pinang River Care Project sees a resource centre for environment and green living at Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan (SMK) Methodist Girls, Penang.
Launched by HSCB Bank Malaysia, the resource centre boasts key elements learnt through the Sg Pinang River Care project displayed with posters, reading materials and photographs.
The resource centre continues to educate as well as remind students and local communities of the importance of maintaining a healthy environment.
The students and teachers of SMK Methodist Girls will continue to update and maintain materials in the resource centre, states a HSBC release.
The resource centre has been planned for September last year but delays including identifying the cabin, refurbishing the cabin as well as school activities and exams stood in its way, states a HSBC Sg Pinang newsletter. The bank’s involvement began in July 2011, in partnership with the Penang Department of Irrigation and Drainage, the Global Environment Centre (GEC) and the local communities in Penang.
The Sg Pinang River Care project actively engages the local community in river and water resource protection.
The project focuses on educating the local community on how the community can do its part in protecting Sungai Pinang, a significant river which is polluted on the Pearl of the Orient. The work has helped ease the dumpsite woes of the fishing community living along the river bank for decades resulting in recurring flash floods.
GOOD WORK: Sungai Pinang River Care Programme partners taking a tour of the Resource Centre for Environment and Green Living
The project also provides the local community an overview of integrated river basin management, practical field training and how to monitor water quality.
The project adopts the concept of “Civic Science” as a way to encourage the local community to actively participate in river management, aimed at increasing the awareness, knowledge and skills to assist community to take action environmental matters.
Before 2007, the river had been classified under Class V as most polluted with no marine life. Six waterways flows into it — Sg Dondang River, Sg Air Itam, Sg Air Puteh, Sg Air Terjun, Sg Jelutong and Sg Kecil.
Today, Sg Pinang is making its way to Class II from its present Class III Water Quality Index rating which was given in 2008. The DID aims to make Sungai Pinang waste-free by 2015.
The organisers engaged 10 schools and six residential areas to raise awareness on river as well as water resource protection within the Sungai Pinang River basin vicinity.
The GEC, with support of DID, trained some 240 students and local residents under the River Rangers programme.
These River Rangers were taken through a five-module training comprising hands-on practical training which taught them crucial elements of river care management.
They were tasked with educating and creating awareness on river care management, which they had learnt, among the members of their community.
“The Sungai Pinang River Care programme has brought together the communities within the Sungai Pinang vicinity and raised awareness on the importance of maintaining a healthy environment,” says Coastal Zone & River Basin Management senior assistant director Masnizan Mustapha.
“In three years, this project has come a long way and we are pleased that elements of sustaining these practices are very much present among members of these communities through the River Rangers.
“We strongly encourage those who have benefitted from this programme to spread the word and continue caring for the environment.”