Home Web Specials Clearer skies, cleaner rivers – how do we keep them that way?

Clearer skies, cleaner rivers – how do we keep them that way?

Gunong Jerai in Kedah state, 1 May 2020, 8.07am - Since the lockdown, it has been visible from neighbouring Penang state more days than not. And not just visible - the details on the mountainside are showing more clearly - Photograph: Lye Tuck Po

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Our political leaders should announce a diligent post Covid-19 action plan to maintain the now-improved quality of our rivers and the air, JD Lovrenciear writes.

Many people will agree that they are beginning to hear the birds sing in abundance, the flowers bloom in their neighbourhoods and the foliage thickening even in cities and towns.

Yes, it is true that after decades of abuse, our rivers have now received a new lease of life, as the coronavirus pandemic has forced human beings to stay at home.

Though this is a heavy price to pay to learn a lesson about environmental care, the fact is our enforcement is so weak that polluters or ‘environment criminals’ have been getting away for the past decades – despite the authorities’ claims of “ongoing investigations”.

Despite all the talk, today we must admit that our rivers and the skies can be clean and clear. They can supply our need for better, cleaner air and water and lush foliage if the government walks the talk more effectively.

The deciding factor is the government in a nation where attitudes and values have sunk so low.

Our political leaders should announce a diligent post Covid-19 action plan to maintain the now-improved quality of our river and the air.

But that calls for transparency and accountability. There has to be a patriotic sense of commitment. Publicly expose wrongdoers and businesses that are polluting the environment even if they involve people in high places.

Can we? My bet is as good as yours. We may in all probability need a Covid-20 (God forbid) before people show more commitment to a safer, cleaner environment.

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