What is new? Pollution and pollution again!

TK Chua


We are not sure of everything. We are not sure where the sources of pollution are located. We are not sure what to do even if we know the sources. New government or old, we are also not sure they make a difference.

We are one of the most governed countries in the world in terms of the number of enforcement agencies and regulating authorities. But what is going on? No sooner than the fiasco in Pasir Gudang, Johor is over, the massive water pollution problem in catchment areas in Selangor is now in full swing. This is in addition to numerous infringements on our forests, which in turn is causing irreparable damage to our living environment.

I know the government is now busy with flying cars, the voting age, debt recovery, sex videos, and more. But surely, they must spend more time to focus on issues that affect the livelihood and wellbeing of the people.

We citizens must play our part too. We must assert more and demand greater accountability from those responsible. This morning I received countless WhatsApp messages from people whining about the water supply disruption to their homes. But where were they when Johor was inflicted with the pollution that caused health issue?

We rarely demand action so long as the problems are not in our backyards. We only make noise when the taps in our kitchens and bathrooms run dry.

It is time to be more assertive. Many of the sources of pollution are “massive” in nature. It is not like someone stealing a buffalo or chicken which is difficult to trace. Surely the authorities concerned cannot claim ignorance all the time. Do we not pay all these agencies to regulate, monitor, control, and take preventive and punitive actions?

Why blame the polluters every time after the fact? I am sure enforcement must include surveillance and prevention. Something is not right as it seems we must wait for a major disaster to occur before we become aware of problems.

It is time those responsible be accountable for their actions. It is time some of them be asked to resign. I know some of you would probably say it is not our culture to ask those responsible to resign. Well, New Malaysia is also a new culture involving new thinking and new assertiveness.  

The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of Malaysiakini.

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