By Raveen Jeyakumar
The government should take measures to solve and prevent the problem of flooding throughout the country.
It should implement the following measures immediately:
1. Stop and review all construction and plantation projects on natural water catchment areas close to the major rivers in each state
Water catchment areas play a crucial role in absorbing rainwater and preventing a drastic increase in the volume of river water during a heavy downpour. This prevents river water overflows because of the high volume of water and the flooding of surrounding areas.
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The government must protect all the natural water catchment areas in Malaysia and enact laws prohibiting construction and plantation work in these areas.
2. Build sufficient water retention ponds near the main rivers throughout Malaysia, particularly in areas frequently hit by floods
3. Remove silt from major rivers (desilting) in each state, particularly in major rivers near construction projects
This is because the sand from construction work falls into and accumulates at the bottom of the river, thus reducing the depth of the river and its ability to carry large amounts of water during heavy rains. As a result, excess water overflows from the rivers and causes flash floods in surrounding areas.
4. Redesign existing drainage systems throughout Malaysia to make them wider and deeper
Most drains in Malaysia are small and unable to hold large volumes of water during heavy rain, thus resulting in flash floods.
5. Clear drains that are clogged with rubbish to prevent flash floods during heavy rain
Local governments should identify hotspots where members of the public frequently throw rubbish into drains and catch and fine litterbugs by installing CCTV cameras or placing local council enforcement officers at those locations. They should also erect signboards prohibiting littering at those locations.
The problem of flooding has existed for a long time in Malaysia, resulting in a terrible impact on people’s lives every year. Unfortunately, it is getting worse.
So the government should implement the above measures to prevent even more hardship for the people because of the severe floods.
Raveen Jeyakumar, a 29-year-old in Ipoh with an interest in environmental issues, is an Aliran volunteer