Longhouse folk residing along the Rajang River and its tributaries here bear the collective responsibility of keeping the waters clean and free from garbage, said Jefferson Jamit Unyat.
The Deputy Minister in the Premier’s Department said with rivers still a big part of the lives of rural folks, they must properly discard their domestic waste and not dump it into the river.
“Rivers play a very important part in our lives as they are the most convenient way to transport bulky goods into the interior, apart from being a source of water for domestic use and also river protein.
“Ensuring the cleanliness of our rivers is our collective responsibility together with agencies like Sarawak Rivers Board (SRB). To those residing along the riverbanks, do not simply dump your rubbish into the water as this will create health and safety hazards,” he said.
Jamit said this when officiating a river safety awareness campaign organised by SRB at Kapit Express Boat Terminal on Sunday, in conjunction with the Gawai celebration and school holiday period.
On the campaign, the Bukit Goram assemblyman said he was informed that it involved 110 SRB staff and 12 patrol boats.
He said even though there is no longer any express boat service between Sibu and Kapit following the construction of a road linking the two towns, folks residing along Rajang River’s numerous tributaries – especially on the west bank of Kapit –are still dependent on river transport in the absence of road connectivity.
“Hence, the safety of boat passengers must continue to be prioritised by all boat operators, whether it is longboats, speedboats, merchant ships, tugboats or cargo vessels,” he said.
The campaign, which included talks on river cleanliness, saw Jamit distribute life jackets to boat operators and programme participants.
SRB acting controller Lt-Col Ding Tiew Wong also spoke at the function.
Among those present were Kapit SRB officer Carol Punggang, Deputy Kapit Resident Robert Liman, Bukit Mabong district officer Calvin Linggong, and Kapit Drainage and Irrigation Department engineer Inja Helleger Achong.
The Borneo Post