JOHOR BARU, March 20 — Sungai Kim Kim in Pasir Gudang, here, is one of the pilot river reserve areas that will be upgraded into a recreational site under the National River Trail programme in an effort to conserve the river in the state.

Johor Mentri Besar Datuk Hasni Mohammad said through the programme, the river reserve area would be developed as a recreational park with the construction of a river trail.

He said about 2,000 kilometres of affected rivers in the state have been selected from a total of 10,000 kilometres across the country to be developed into river trail routes and recreation sites for the local communities.

“The construction of river trail is one of the nature-based-solution (NBS) approaches to address socio-environmental challenges through sustainable management and use of the environment and will be implemented by the Ministry of Environment and Water (KASA).

“The presence of members of public in the area will prevent irresponsible parties from turning the river into a waste dump,” he told reporters after participating in the ‘Gotong-Royong Sayangi Kim Kim’ programme in conjunction with World Water Day at Sungai Kim Kim, here, today.

Also present was the Ministry of Environment and Water secretary-general Datuk Seri Zaini Ujang.

According to Hasni, at the initial stage, the cost to beautify the area and build a trail on the Sungai Kim Kim would cost RM500,000.

As Sungai Kim Kim flows through an industrial area, he said the implementation of the trail programme required the cooperation and contributions of the factories around the area to ensure its success.

“Although the programme is a government initiative, corporate bodies, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and the local community will be the leaders in making the selected trail areas their adopted baby as well as implementing beautification (tree planting), maintenance (gotong-royong) and formulate awareness programmes in the trail area,” he said.

Apart from the involvement of various agencies under KASA, four public institutions of higher learning namely Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM), Universiti Tun Hussein Onn Malaysia (UTHM), Universiti Sains Islam Malaysia (USIM) and Universiti Teknikal Malaysia Melaka (UTeM) are also participating to landscape the trail along Sungai Kim Kim for the benefit of local residents.

Toxic pollution in the Sungai Kim Kim on March 7, 2019 affecting nearly 6,000 residents including school students, causing 111 schools in the Pasir Gudang area to be closed temporarily. — Bernama