WWF to strengthen Tambunan water resource

Posted on March 27, 2011. Filed under: Water resource |

-theborneopost.com-

TAMBUNAN: WWF Malaysia is working towards strengthening the water resource for Sungai Liwagu at its water catchment.

Its chief technical officer, Dr Rahimatsah Amat, said at the launch of the WWF Environment Education Programme (Programme EE) yesterday that they hope to address water catchment management issues and advocate for protection of water catchment at the area, which is part of the Heart of Borneo (HoB).

The project aspires to improve protection and management of upland water catchment forest, enhance conservation and restoration of key species and enhance local community participation in catchment and natural resource management.

The project focuses on a pilot site in the Malaysian side of the HoB landscape in Sabah.

In this three-year project (2010-2012), WWF acts as facilitator and implementer by working in partnership with the relevant stakeholders.

WWF is working alongside HSBC Bank Malaysia Berhad in the project.

The project area constitutes an upland catchment within the district of Tambunan.

The population at the selected site is mainly Dusun ethnics involved in agriculture, small-scale fish rearing and tagal, a community-based system of rehabilitation, protection and conservation of the river environment and indigenous fisheries resources.

And the environment education programme launched yesterday fulfills part of the project, he said.

“Our aim is to increase community participation in the management of their natural resource and water catchment areas,” Dr Rahimatsah said.

He added that they hope to raise awareness on issues related to water resource and the change of climate through the programme.

Most of the participants in yesterday’s programme consisted of school children between 12 and 19 years old.

“I believe that the participation of teachers in the program will facilitate awareness among the students in its activities,” said Dr Rahimatsah.

The students are hailed from SMK Desa Wawasan, SK Garas, SK Nukakatan, SK Sintuong-tuong, SK Kumawanan and SK Tinompok Liwan.

Meanwhile, students living near the river lauded the programme which they felt was important to keep their condition of their river pristine.

Azni Jamil, a Form Four student from SMK Desa Wawasan, said that there are eels and ‘belian’ fishes in the river.

“Some of the fishes caught here are huge. They have scales the size of a 50 sen coin,” she said.

She said that their water is derived from the river, and they use it for drinking, cooking and washing.

Thus it is imperative that the water remains clean, she said.

She also said that no one is allowed to throw garbage into the river.

And the only time the water at the river becomes murky is during heavy rainfall, she said.

“But the murkiness subsides the next day. Basically, you can see fishes swimming in the river at most time.”

Twelve-year-old Marcus Sapikit of SK Kumawanan shared that he likes the river to continue being as pristine as it is now.

“If it is polluted, where do we get our water? We need water to live.”

The very practical boy added that kids like him had a role to educate their families at home.

“I’ll advise my family members to never throw anything into the river,” he said.

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