Photo Credit: Google
By Aznir Malek
Our river fish are disappearing and, with them, the sport fishing industry if we don’t save our rivers now.
Malaysia is a blessed country. It has some of the oldest forests in the world which are rich in flora and fauna. It is wet all year round, guaranteeing sustenance for us who inhabit it. Thousands of streams and rivers flow across the land. But all this is changing for the worse, and at an ever increasing rate. Human activities are encroaching on the natural resources of our country, destroying the very things that sustain us.
Our jungles are being destroyed, our rivers are getting silted and polluted. Ecotourism, an important income-earner for the country, is affected. The quality of water that we receive at our homes is deteriorating. Our river fish are disappearing and, with them, the important sport fishing industry. It is now crucial for us to save our rivers and their watersheds, and also the fish that live therein. Each of us needs to do our bit to help the country save these vital resources.
Water, your source of life!
Human beings need food, shelter and water to survive. Of these, water is probably the most crucial; you can survive without food for two or three weeks, but you will last only three days without water.
Nowadays, however, we tend to take water for granted. It always seems to be there, whether from the tap, water dispenser or mineral water bottle.
However, if you take a closer look, you will discover that a lot of effort is needed to produce that water that ends up at your dinner table or in your bathroom. A lot depends on how we manage the environment and thus our water quality.
Water provides for other needs too. It flows in the rivers and lakes. It provides the locals with a means of transport and to make a living. The whole ecotourism industry will literally die without it. The jungles, rivers, lakes and swamps will disappear, and so will the tourists. Local folk will lose their income.
Let’s save our rivers and their fish
We need to address the issue from several fronts:
Policies and procedures
The relevant government bodies need to have sound policies and procedures on river conservation and sustenance. These should cover public communications, conservation programmes, watchdog initiatives etc.
Our role as the average citizen is to highlight river pollution or other unlawful acts to these organisations.
Law and enforcement
The laws on river and fish conservation vary from state to state. Some are very archaic and in dire need of revision. The enforcement of these laws are just as weak.
Non-governmental organisations play an essential role in nature conservation. When a nation focuses on progress and development, there is a natural tendency to overlook nature.
NGOs play a role in reminding us of these issues and helping to do something about it. The Malaysian Nature Society (MNS), Malaysian Fisheries Society (MFS), Persatuan Memancing Malaysia (PeMM) and Kagum are some of the NGOs who focus on conservation programmes.
Our behaviour becomes a reference for others, especially the younger generation. If we practise conservation, others will follow.
Thus we need to understand the issues, and what we need to do to help conserve the rivers.
Our Malaysian rivers belong to our next generations. Our duty is to safeguard these rivers for them!
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