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[PHOTOS] Here Are The Rivers Across Malaysia That Are Now Cleaner Due To MCO

"It is we humans who overload the rivers."

Cover image via Free Malaysia Today & Bernama/theSundaily

Since the implementation of the Movement Control Order (MCO), the environment has been flourishing with humans required to stay indoors

With everyone at home to curb the spread of COVID-19, you can say there have been minimal pollutants towards the environment -  factories have temporarily ceased operations and fewer cars are on the roads.

In only over a month, reports and headlines have surfaced that the rivers across Malaysia look much clearer. Some even had wildlife returning to enjoy the clean waters.

Here are some of the rivers that have been rejuvenated:

1. Sungai Kim Kim, Johor

According to Berita Harian, Kampung Bukit Pulai resident Nur Satria Rabu said Sungai Kim Kim, a river infamous for having chemical waste pollution, has recently begun to recover.

The river water that is usually black is now cleaner and does not smell as foul as it did before.

The local also said that when the river occasionally recedes, he can see small fishes more clearly than he had 10 years ago.

"Alhamdullilah, Sungai Kim Kim is clearer and recovering after it was cleaned. Not to mention that many of the factories and industries around have stopped operations during MCO," he added.

A team from the Johor Fire and Rescue Department wearing hazmat suits to inspect the quality of Sungai Kim Kim in March 2019 after a tanker lorry was seen dumping illegal toxic waste into the river.

Image via Berita Harian

Nur Satria Rabu showing how Sungai Kim Kim looks clearer than it was before.

Image via Berita Harian

2. Sungai Melaka, Melaka

Bernama reported that Sungai Melaka has become cleaner and greener during the MCO.

Interviews with locals revealed that the river has not achieved this level of cleanliness in a long time, with fishes and monitor lizards sighted in the water.

A trishaw rider in the area also commented that he has never seen the river this clean in the eight years that he has worked there.

Before the MCO, Sungai Melaka's water was known for being smelly and murky with teh tarik-coloured water.

3. Klang River, Kuala Lumpur

A viral video on Twitter recently showed someone commenting on how Klang River - "the dirtiest river in Malaysia" - is now clean with everyone staying at home.

"With everyone sitting at home, and nobody out to throw rubbish everywhere, look at how clean this river is," the man exclaimed while showing Klang River in the video.

It was confirmed when Selangor Maritime Gateway officially reported a 43% reduction in the total amount of rubbish extracted from Klang River during MCO.

According to Bernama, the conservation organisation only collected 580 metric tonnes of rubbish from 15 March to 15 April, compared to the average of 900 to 1,200 metric tonnes monthly over the past six months.

Selangor Maritime Gateway also shared a video of an otter hanging about the healthier river.

Image via Malay Mail

4. Sungai Gombak, Kuala Lumpur

Sungai Gombak has also been reported to look clearer since MCO began.

Global Environmental Centre (GEC) river care programme manager Kalithasan Kailasam said he had received numerous reports from residents living along the river about better water quality along some stretches of the waterway.

"There is less rubbish compared to before the MCO, and even though we have not done any tests yet, from visual observations, we can say that to some extent mother nature has managed to heal herself from all the previous damage," he said in an interview with Free Malaysia Today.

He added that another two urban rivers, Sungai Way and Sungai Kemunsing, have also been clearing up.

5. Sungai Gisir, Selangor

Malaysiakini reported that a small tributary of the Klang River, Sungai Gisir, that runs through Hulu Klang has also been noticeably cleaner since MCO started.

Sungai Gisir before MCO (left) and during MCO (right).

Image via Malaysiakini

6. Sungai Pinang, Penang

The Star reported that the once pitch-black river running along George Town is now jade green with algae.

Drone-captured photographs of Sungai Pinang taken seven weeks apart revealed that the river has been healing since the MCO started.

"With the MCO, the dumping has stopped. You can see now how a river cleans itself if the pollution load is low. It is we humans who overload the rivers," said a researcher from Universiti Sains Malaysia, professor Dr Chan Ngai Weng.

He said the pollution of the river was from human activity and suggested that these sources be relocated, or at least ensure their wastewater is treated before being discharged into the environment.

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