Gov't dept tasked to clean up Sungai Tebrau, run awareness campaigns

Chuah Bee Kim


JOHOR BARU: The state’s Economic Planning Unit and Department of Irrigation and Drainage have been tasked to coordinate the clean-up of Sungai Tebrau, where the quality of the river has been found to be slightly polluted.

The river, which is also inundated with rubbish, will undergo a clean-up programme with the help of representatives from various government departments.

State Health and Environment Committee chairman Datuk Ayub Rahmat told a press conference here today that the 32km long river is dotted four illegal squatter areas and 1,166 industrial players.

The river, which starts from the Senai International Airport, runs through Kg Maju Jaya, Kempas, Bandar Dato Onn, Pandan Wholesale Market and Kampung Bakar Batu before flowing into Tebrau Straits.

Of the 1,166 industries, nine did not have proper discharge facilities. The river also has eight tributaries and the cost of maintaining the eight tributaries is RM90,000 per month.

“We are in the midst of relocating the squatters to flats. At the same time, we need to organise awareness programmes as public awareness is not there.

“When the awareness is not there, no matter how many times we make the effort to clean the river, the rubbish woe will re-surface,” he added.

“Cooperation among the different government departments is important in our bid to improve the quality of the river (currently classified under Category Three),” he said.

Besides Sungai Tebrau, another six rivers in the state are also being reviewed under the Water Blueprint. One of the rivers is Sungai Skudai.

Also present at the press conference were Johor Department of Environment director Datuk Dr Mohammad Ezanni Mat Salleh and Johor Baru City Council mayor Datuk A Rahim Nin.

Rahim said Sungai Tebrau has many tributaries, which flows into the Tebrau Straits, and can affect the neighbouring country.

He added that plans are afoot to install trash traps, however, this would add to the local council’s monthly RM90,000 maintenance cost.

The inspection of Sungai Tebrau was made after Sultan of Johor Sultan Ibrahim Sultan Iskandar had personally visited the site and called for a clean-up of the river.

In another matter, Mohammad Ezanni said the death of fishes in Danga Bay here recently was not caused by the rubbish pollution but the weather condition.