SELANGOR, 22 OCTOBER 2019 – SPARK Foundation, in collaboration with the Global Environment Centre (GEC) celebrated World Rivers Day through a river clean-up session with the local communities.
Together with the GEC, SPARK Foundation teamed up with more than 50 volunteers and local communities from Sungai Penchala river basin including Friends of Sungai Penchala, Sahabat Komuniti Sungei Way, Joint Management Board Blok 1 Desa Mentari, Sahabat Hijau Blok 1, and Indah Water Konsortium Shah Alam (IWK), successfully cleaning-up 400 metres of the river. Resulting from the river clean–up effort, 385kg of rubbish in which 273kg of wet waste and 112kg of recyclables were collected during the three-hour session.
The river clean-up session is one of the many initiatives driven by SPARK Foundation through its flagship programme, the W.A.T.E.R Project, which was launched in 2007. Since its inception, the project has adopted five rivers, including Sungai Way, successfully upgrading the river water quality from Class IV-V to Class III in 2009, making the river habitable to aquatic life.
In 2018, the project evolved from river rehabilitation to focus more on watershed health protection through two approaches – water conservation and improving water quality. Some of the flagship initiatives of the project are its water conservation workshop, along with the distribution of water thimbles. To date, 920 water thimbles have been distributed to close to 1,000 Malaysians, and is proven to reduce water consumption of 20 litres per person daily. The 3-month pilot project involving 50 households in Petaling Jaya has proven to reduce more than 100,000 litres of water monthly.
Renuka Indrarajah, Trustee of SPARK Foundation said, “One of SPARK Foundation’s visions is to grow with the local community through water and river conservation programmes. Through SPARK Foundation’s W.A.T.E.R. Project, RM10.5 million have been allocated till 2020 under the water stewardship agenda. Recently in May, SPARK Foundation led a reforestation effort in Raja Musa Forest Reserve as part of their watershed health protection efforts. There, we have replanted one hectare of trees to preserve the peat swamp. Through public private partnerships and high-impact programmes, we strive to practice sustainable water management and an efficient use of our water resources, supporting the 2030 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.”
This river clean-up session is carried out in partnership with the Department of Irrigation and Drainage Selangor (DID Selangor), Selangor Water Management Authority (LUAS), Majlis Bandaraya Petaling Jaya, and Indah Water Konsortium Shah Alam.
Dr. K. Kalithasan, GEC River Programme Manager said, “I would like to thank the local communities for showing their continuous support by coming together for this special occasion. It is important for us to educate individuals in understanding the significance of river protection and keeping our drains clean. 90% of our raw water supply comes from these rivers, yet only 46% of our rivers remain clean. As a shared public resource, everyone should think twice of what goes down our drains as these substances could potentially end up polluting our rivers. With this river cleanup session organised by SPARK Foundation, we hope to promote a sense of awareness among volunteers on the influence they can have on the environment and leave today feeling inspired to take charge in caring for our rivers.”
Goh Jian Bin, a volunteer from Sri Petaling said, “I’m glad to have taken part in this session and help contribute back to the community. I have learned a lot from this session, especially on how vital river health is to our communities and to appreciate my surroundings more. For instance, I’ll be sure to be remember not to discard cooking oil down my kitchen sink as these substances flow to the river and could suffocate the aquatic life that inhabit it. The event has also motivated me to share with my family and friends on the importance of managing our waste correctly to mitigate river pollution.”
For more information on SPARK Foundation’s activities, visit our website at https://sparkfoundation.com.my or follow us on Facebook via https://www.facebook.com/SPARKFoundationMY.