20th March 2022 and 15th April 2022 mark the third and fourth cleanup respectively under EcoKnights’ Guardians Against Garbage (GAG) Program, a strategic partnership between Coway Malaysia and EcoKnights to raise public awareness and knowledge on the challenges of solid waste management primarily at local level. Both the cleanups were conducted with the help of Fuze Ecoteer at one of the riverbanks of Sungai Kayu Ara, nestled in between the residential areas of Taman Tun Dr Ismail and Kampung Penchala.
The source of Sungai Kayu Ara is at Bukit Lanjan and then it flows through Kampung Sg Penchala, Taman Tun Dr. Ismail (TTDI) and Ara Damansara before discharging into the Damansara River, serving as a water body with important ecosystem services such as rainwater flow mitigation and increasing aesthetical value. “This section of the river has been cleaned regularly so that it may be preserved as a wildlife corridor for small insects, fish and birds. Fishermen from the village regularly come here to fish,” stated Daniel Quilter of Fuze Ecoteer who monitors the river consistently. Hence through the cleanups of GAG program, it is hoped that the river can be both restored and conserved for a sustainable future.
High-Spirited River ‘Gotong-royong’ Collected 165.6kg of Waste
This river clean-up on 20th March 2022 was to develop a stronger employee engagement in maintaining the cleanliness of public spaces as well as raising awareness that everyone has a part to play in charting a sustainable future for Kuala Lumpur and be the change for a better tomorrow. The cleanup was joined by Mr. Kyle Choi, Managing Director of Coway Malaysia, along with 10 other employees and with gusto, the cleanup took about an hour to conclude. While cleaning the river, the group was happy to find a Red-Eared Slider, a species of semi-aquatic turtle, in the river, an indication of the river’s biodiversity.
At the end of the cleanup, the group collectively managed to collect a whopping 165.6 kilograms of waste, with 25.5kg of recyclables and 140.1kg of non-recyclables. The plastics were collected and sent to be recycled at a dedicated recycling center.
Public Participation as River Citizen Scientists During Ramadhan
The other cleanup took place at Sungai Kayu Ara on the 15th April 2022. This time, volunteers from the general public joined this endeavor not only to clean up the river but to also conduct a simple biological assessment of the river. This is to measure the water quality and biodiversity of the river by sampling benthic macroinvertebrates (aquatic insects). According to the bio-indicator of water quality manual, Sungai Kayu Ara receives a score of 4.3/10 which is classified as ‘average’. The waste collected was sorted into different categories which includes recyclable plastics, clothing, plastic bags, aluminum cans, metals, glass, and others. This is to determine the source of the waste and implement mitigation procedures accordingly. Astonishingly, the small group of volunteers managed to collect 262kg of waste inclusive of 3.5kg of recyclable waste, 119kg of clothing, and 64kg of plastic bags.
These two successful river cleanup activities show the crucial importance of aligning with the sustainable development goals on responsible waste management and taking collective responsibility to keep our environment clean and healthy. This is because the environment plays a major part in providing essential ecosystem services and improved quality of life for human benefit. Hence, the GAG initiative plays an important role, with the support of Coway Malaysia, in the rehabilitation, restoration and conservation of the environment. This initiative is open to everyone who wishes to contribute to a positive impact on our ecosystem. Hence, the general public members are welcomed to participate in future cleanup/plogathon events together and may contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
About Guardians Against Garbage (GAG) Program with Coway Malaysia
The Guardian Against Garbage (GAG) Program is a waste management program that helps in ecosystem restoration. GAG with Coway Malaysia serves as a one-year partnership with the key objectives of providing education, raising awareness, and encouraging environmental conservation movements among the Coway employees, as well as the general public. Currently, there are 4 main programs that are conducted under the GAG: River Log Boom Clean-Up, Plogging, Community Action on Recycling & Education (CARE) station, and various awareness programs. These programs aim to provide first-hand experience and understanding of waste management by instilling a sustainable and just mindset among the general public.