Mini River Carnival – a signature event by the Department of Irrigation and Drainage (DID) Malaysia and the Global Environment Centre (GEC) has attracted more than 200 city folks to partake in the River of Life educational activities. The event is organised as part of wider efforts to raise public awareness on the Klang River under the River of Life Project and also to celebrate World Rivers Day 2018.
The World Rivers Day is celebrated every year on the fourth Sunday of September which began in 1989 in British Columbia, Canada. World Rivers Day is a day to raise public awareness and promote the preservation and conservation of rivers around the world.
One of the most popular activities amongst the attendees was the River Quest, an explore-race type of activity which required the participants to explore the confluence of Klang and Gombak River by completing the tasks and answering the questions correctly to proceed to the next checkpoint. Meanwhile, the Young River Scientist Programme became the choice of many parents to expose their children to the importance of rivers through a fun-learning outdoor classroom. Children aged 5 to 12 years were engaged with interesting mini-experiments to measure good and bad river water and had fun in playing environmental themed games such as fishing for litter and completing jigsaw puzzles.
The carnival was also a zero waste event to enlighten the public and participants to reduce waste and adopt a zero waste lifestyle. Interestingly, the participants brought their own bags, food and drinks container and cutleries to collect food and drinks.
DID River Basin Management Division Senior Principal Assistant Director Wan Marhafidz Shah Wan Mohd Omar said “The majority of Malaysians do not know that 97% of our drinking water sources are from the rivers. Our drinking water supply will be affected if our rivers are badly polluted. Under the River of Life project, the implementation of clearing and upgrading of the Klang River’s water quality has reached over 80% but the culture of using rivers and drainage as dumpsites can affect this initiative. Thus, implementing a public outreach programme such as the Mini River Carnival is hoped to raise public awareness on the importance of the river and change the public’s perception that rivers are not dumpsites but an asset to the country.”
“The government, through DID, is currently spending RM500, 000 per month just to collect rubbish at the rubbish traps that we have installed in the rivers and certain drains within the River of Life project area. If everyone is aware and does not throw rubbish into rivers, such provisions can be better allocated,” he added.
The carnival also saw the launch of Friends of Klang River Basin – a group of community network located within the Klang River basin who are committed towards the conservation of Klang River and it’s river banks. These communities are also actively involved in river monitoring and adoption of Klang River and its tributaries.
The carnival is also supported by DID Kuala Lumpur and Dewan Bandaraya Kuala Lumpur. It is estimated that millions of people around 60-80 countries including Malaysia are joining this year’s World Rivers Day celebration.