Many are alarmed by the recent tragic landslide that has taken so many lives, including those of young schoolchildren.
The disaster is reminiscent of the Highland Tower landslide tragedy that brought down a condominium complex decades ago. Today, we mourn again with families who have lost their loved ones.
The relevant authorities and rescue teams must be commended for their speedy and tireless effort. People took comfort in seeing our leaders quickly at the site of the tragedy, demonstrating grave concern and compassion.
Today, pollution and other environmental factors are causing serious climatic changes to global weather patterns. This will have disastrous consequences for property and lives.
Landslides and floods are now a serious periodic problem for the nation, which has been mostly free of earthquakes, hurricanes and even volcanic eruptions.
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It is time we seriously began managing floods and landslides, instead of responding with knee-jerk reactions to these disasters.
We urgently need to set up a crisis team to undertake risk assessments for a variety of natural disasters, caused by changes in weather patterns, floods and landslides.
This team should also keep a watchful eye on the impact of indiscriminate development in the country, especially along hill slopes and flood-prone areas.
This unit should be parked under the Ministry of Natural Resources, Environment and Climate change in collaboration with the Ministry of Defence. Together, they will have the means, the knowledge, the technology and the personnel to manage the floods and landslide crises.
On another note, creating safe campsites and mini-adventure parks for student activities could also be a worthy consideration to be taken seriously by the Ministry of Education. The ministry should also consider bringing back ‘safe’ parks so that schoolchildren can be taught the importance of caring for the environment through meaningful creative activities and experiences.
The Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security should review the environmental impact of all agricultural developments and industries.
There should be better coordination, monitoring, maintenance and enforcement of the environmental aspect of our approach to development. Our civil service should be streamlined and will benefit from such an approach.
Last but not least, people here must stop their habit of indiscriminate littering. The same goes for the polluters who continue to defy the country’s environmental laws.
Enough of the slogans and the pathetic enforcement. It is time we became more responsible.
Hopefully, the new government will be able to review the environmental crisis we are facing and ensure a safer future for all of us.