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Time right to set up National River Protection Authority, says expert

Recently, pollution in Sungai Kim Kim in Pasir Gudang, Johor, caused thousands of people to be affected and caused the closure of schools. (Bernama pic)

PETALING JAYA: An environmental expert has supported a suggestion to set up the National River Protection Authority.

Saying this is overdue, Global Environment Centre River Care coordinator K Kalithasan said in most parts of the world, river management comes under one authority because rivers and water are the main resources for all the industries and living things.

“It is always a cross-boundary issue involving so many parties. Everyone is inter-related.

“So, it will be very difficult if we do sectorial management of river resources,” he said.

National Water Services Commission (SPAN) chairman Charles Santiago yesterday said the country had so many different agencies that there was a need to focus on integrating everyone under one authority to solve river pollution.

The sad part was that none of them had any real authority, he said after a seminar on river pollution.

He said a single authority could be parked under the Prime Minister’s Department to give it power and money to solve issues at hand.

Santiago said cities like Cape Town in South Africa and Chennai in India had millions of inhabitants but faced water problems.

Kalithasan said bringing all the agencies under one roof was a good approach to stop pollution.

He said once the National River Protection Authority was set up, it should look into setting guidelines on its priorities.

“Everyone is looking at safeguarding their own interests now,” said Kalithasan.

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