LETTER | The Malaysian Medical Association (MMA) welcomes the government's setting up of a special task force to prevent environmental crimes.
It is hoped that its plans will also include channels or platforms online for the public to lodge complaints on environmental crimes as they will be the most important group to assist the enforcement agencies. The government must also guarantee full protection of the complainants and their identities as some may fear reporting such crimes.
Our environmental NGOs and health associations should also be involved. They should work closely with the special task force as they are familiar with a number of issues affecting our environment.
River pollution, waste disposal, threats to flora, fauna and biodiversity and illegal logging are among some issues that we must take a more serious view of and must be addressed with greater urgency as they can have an effect on health in the short and long term.
Issues such as the recent unscheduled water disruption in Selangor caused by river pollution which affected 1.2 million people in the Klang Valley must be prevented through stricter and regular enforcement. A permanent solution to these recurring issues has been long overdue.
The MMA fully supports tougher laws to punish polluters and agrees with suggestions made by MPs to place water under the category of national security as it is a precious resource. Every effort must be made to protect our water supply from pollution.
We also urge the government to increase efforts to educate the public on caring for our environment. We should also teach and nurture environmental stewardship among children from a young age in schools.
DR N GANABASKARAN is president of MMA.
The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of Malaysiakini.