Tuesday, 23 December 2014

Sungai Gabai River Cleaning Activity

Class Photo of Environmental Ethics Policy & Law 

On 6 December 2014, I and my classmates went to Sungai Gabai Waterfall to do river cleaning activity as our assignment for Environmental Ethics, Policy and Law Subject.  The purposes of this project are to raise awareness of the environment among students; nnsuring students get new environmental science through application directly while completing tasks; create a clean environment; foster the cooperation among students and visitors and local residents. In this project, about 50 peoples including our lecturer Dr. Fauziah Shahul Hamid are involved.  We departed from University Malaya about 8.15 in the morning by carpools and we arrived at Sungai Gabai Waterfall at 9 a.m. It is a little bit rainy on that day, but thankfully the rain stopped as we arrived.

Before we started our main agenda for the day, that is river cleaning, we had some icebreaking among ourselves. The icebreaking activity was conducted by the chief of charging bureau, Hafizulisra. All of us were divided into 8 groups. Each group was given a packet of bread and an orange per person. The fastest group that can finished up all the foods are the winners. In this game, the main objective is to test the spirit of cooperation and tolerance as well as strategies in a team. The game takes about 15 minutes to finish. After that, we had a second game that is poison box. In this game, we were asked to make a large circle and a box filled with small numbered papers was being passed amongst ourselves while the music played. When the music stops, the person holding the bottle is required to take the existing numbers in the box and they need to perform the requested action by the question. This game required us to be creative and critical and the same time.

After having icebreaking activity about 45 minutes, we moved on to the second agenda that is spreading the environmental awareness to visitors at Sungai Gabai Waterfall. This environmental awareness campaign was carried out to visitors in groups according to the initial group during icebreaking session. We bombarded every visitor who is present and disseminate the importance of protecting the environment and its effects. The majority of visitors expressed a positive response to our campaign and also praised the initiatives of this program. The visitors are also invited to join us to clean up the river and souvenirs in the form of environmental awareness material were given to them as an appreciation.

Next, we were having the main agenda for the day that is river cleaning. We collect all the waste that can be taken where the waste were scattered along the waterfall up to fourth stage of Sungai Gabai Waterfall. The wastes were separated into two types; which can be recycled and which cannot be recycled. Most types of waste that we have collected are plastic bottles, plastic packaging material, and polystyrene. The total amount of waste that we collect is 29.2kg for waste which cannot be recycled and 14kg of waste that can be recycled. Wastes that can be recycled were brought back to be sent to recycling center and wastes that cannot be recycled were handed over to committee in charge of the facility in Sungai Gabai Waterfall. In addition to the river cleaning activities, we also make a simple water quality test to test the level of cleanliness Sungai Gabai Waterfall. Here are the results of the test; pH - 7, Nitrate - 5ppm, phosphate - 1, Dissolved Oxygen (DO) - 0, temperature - 26C, turbidity - 40 JTU. The results of this test indicated the water quality of Sungai Gabai Waterfall is at a low level, especially when the DO was zero showed no organisms that can live in it.

What is more surprising is the amount of wastes collected that is quite a lot. These wastes were also not disposed in the right place like trash bin instead be left at the edges of the road leading to the waterfall and most of the garbage is made of plastic, which requires at least 450 years to decompose. This is very shocking and shameful. This shows that the Malaysian public awareness about the importance of protecting the environment is very low. However, it is the responsibility of every citizen in a community to remind each other of the importance of protecting the environment and student groups are also part of the community. Thus, students ought to be the agents of change to society by carrying out similar activities rather than just theorizing in lecture halls. I feel very grateful and proud to be involved in this activity because this activity made me realize the importance of spreading awareness to the public. It is expected that these activities do not stop here and will be conducted also in the future without the needs to be a necessary assignment in any subject at university instead on the efforts and initiative of the students themselves.

After the river cleaning activity, we had lunch and informal speech delivered by Dr. Fauziah Shahul Hamid as our lecturer for the course and Afiq Hazimi as the director for this river cleaning project. We also hung a banner at Sungai Gabai Waterfall about the importance of taking care of the river for public viewing. We departed back to University of Malaya at 1.20 p.m.  To end this report I would like to quotes very meaningful quotes from two figures.

 ‘The activist is not the man who says the river is dirty. The activist is the man who cleans up the river’ -Ross Perot

‘People blame their environment. There is only one person to blame - and only one - themselves.’ -Robert Collier

Posters for Environmental Awareness
Environmental Awareness Banner left at Sungai Gabai Waterfall
Environmental Awareness Campaign to visitors

Cleaning River

Bring the waste down 
Simple Water Quality Test