By Shazni Ong
The environment has been one of the common ongoing issues happening lately in Malaysia. The hot and dry season has caused a lot of difficulties and hardships especially to the people living in the northern states of Peninsular Malaysia. Although the hot and dry season was considered a disaster to many, there is a bright side to this, especially at the campus of the International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM) in Gombak.
The river that flows through the university has always been a common discussion among IIUM community due to the fact that its ‘milky’ light brown or ‘teh tarik’ (pulled tea) colour water and floating rubbish that can be seen on the river currents. This has led to the cause of having an unpleasant view and an embarrassment to the IIUM community as it can lead to a negative impression especially to those first-timers who visit IIUM campus.
As there has been not much rain falling within the grounds of IIUM over the past few days, this has caused water level of the river to have receded and has allowed swimming fishes to be seen. With the low water level of the river, staffs and students from IIUM together with Pertubuhan Alam Sekitar Sejahtera Malaysia or GRASS Malaysia, a non-governmental organisation (NGO), that have concerns with the environment, to voluntarily organise a programme to help clean the river.
Held on 5 May, the event named ‘IIUM River Cleaning’ was held with various staff and student organisations from within IIUM giving voluntary support. This included from the Academic Staff Association (ASA), Occupational, Safety, Health and Build Environment Department (OSHBE), University Centre for Community Engagement (BUDI), Daya Bersih as well as Library Information Science Students’ Association (LISSA) and Information, Communication and Technology Students’ Society (ICTSS), respectively.
“As we know, we have a beautiful scenery on our campus and we as part of the IIUM community should take good care of our campus environment,” said Academic Staff Association President, Prof. Dr. Mohamad Fauzan Nordin.
Meanwhile, according to the event’s programme manager, Hani, the programme was held to raise awareness among IIUM students to preserve and conserve the beauty of the river.
“The river cleaning will again be held in September, and we are hoping more volunteers from the IIUM community to participate. Show your support to IIUM community and see you in September,” Hani added.
The river cleaning took place from the wooden bridge near the banking area up till the Cultural Activity Centre (CAC) bridge. Although more than 100 volunteers from staffs and students participated in the event, it was considered a success due to considerable amount of rubbish collected. Besides the river cleaning as the main activity of the event, there were also a few competitions held. This included the most collected rubbish, the most unique items found and the highest level of teamwork shown.***
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