Ramadhan Hijau Campaign

By ROL-POP Phases 3B (Sg Ampang) and 4 (upper Sg Gombak and upper Sg Batu)

‘Ramadhan Hijau’ Campaign Under The River of Life’s Public Outreach Programme Phase 3B and 4 Promotes Heathier Rivers By Reducing Food Waste And Promote Better Waste Management

As waste dumping is fast becoming one of the biggest contributors to river pollution, the ‘Ramadhan Hijau’ campaign under the River of Life – Public Outreach Programme Phase 3B and 4 aims to promote greater awareness on waste reduction and management among the public during the festive season, which in the long run will contribute to healthier rivers.

Malaysians generate about 38,000 tonnes of waste daily and 15,000 tonnes of this is food waste, according to SWCorp Malaysia (Solid Waste Management and Public Cleansing Corporation).

“The escalating amount of household waste involving largely food waste is indeed a worrying trend, especially during the festive seasons,” said Ir Haji Azmi Bin Ibrahim, Director of the Department of Irrigation and Drainage of Selangor (JPS Selangor). “It is a wake-up call for all of us. Improper handling of household waste, especially food waste, can be a serious threat to our rivers.”

“Generally, Malaysians love their food, but, we always order more than we can consume. So, the food wasted ends up in the bin. When disposed improperly, it may end up in the drains that flow into our rivers, causing not only river pollution but clogging, which can increase flood risks,” Ir Haji Azmi added.

SWCorp also found that food waste can increase by up to 50 per cent during festive periods.

It was with this growing concern in mind that the Ramadhan Hijau programme was established in time for this Ramadhan period, with hopes that it will be held during every Ramadhan hereafter. Ramadhan Hijau, a campaign under the River of Life – Public Outreach Programme (ROL-POP) Phase 3B & 4, is organized by JPS Selangor with the support of the Municipal Council of Ampang Jaya (MPAJ) and Majlis Perbandaran Selayang (MPS) to promote greater awareness on waste reduction and management among the public towards healthier rivers.

Explaining on ways to reduce waste

The ROL-POP Phase 3B & 4 team set up a pop-up exhibition booth in five Ramadhan Bazaar locations on five different days throughout the month of June, drawing in visitors to answer simple pop quizzes related to river and waste management. Food containers and water flasks were given out to those who answered correctly – indirectly promoting the use of own containers, reducing waste and plastic use. The team distributed awareness posters and leaflets to the public and every trader/food operator at the bazaars, conveying knowledge on waste reduction and proper waste management.

Food operator helped to hang the awareness poster at his stall

Ramadhan Bazaars, where hundreds of food vendors and consumers come together in a positive environment, provide the ideal platform to educate and create awareness on reducing food waste, consuming responsibly, and disposing waste wisely. The bazaars ROL-POP Phase 3B & 4 visited were at Pandan Indah, Taman Melur, Taman Ehsan, Gombak Setia, and Bandar Baru Ampang.

The campaign also sets out to educate the public on recycling used cooking oil (UCO) into other useful products such as candles, soaps, biodiesel. Traders at the Ramadhan bazaars and the public are encouraged to take their used oil to recycling centres set up by the MPAJ and MPS. It was highlighted that many households and food traders are not aware of the proper way to dispose of used cooking oil, with a majority still pouring it down to the drain or sink, which eventually ends up in the river, causing pollution and affecting oxygenation.

Ramadhan Hijau team with YDP of MPAJ

The Ramadhan Hijau campaign was kick-started at the bazaar in Pandan Indah in conjunction with MPAJ’s Ramadhan Mampan event launched by Yang Di-Pertua (YDP) Tuan Haji Abd Hamid bin Hussain. Food stalls audit was then carried out together with MPAJ officers to assess the food stalls’ cleanliness, and the management of used cooking oil and waste.

In the Taman Ehsan and Gombak Setia Ramadhan Bazaars, the Ramadhan Hijau campaign was held in conjunction with MPS’s “Bebas Plastik” event, where food stalls audit was carried out as well.

“It is important for the public to rethink the way we manage our household waste especially food waste during the upcoming festive season. This campaign has reminded me that the best place to start making a difference is from our home,” says Hazwani Bt Alias, regular patron of the Pandan Indah Ramadhan bazaar.

Meanwhile, Mohammad Nur Hasyim, who runs a stall selling murtabak at Pandan Indah Ramadhan bazaar, said he is aware of the negative environmental impacts of dumping used-cooking oil irresponsibly. He believes traders should support used-cooking oil recycling and deposit their used-cooking oil at the collection centre set up by the local council.

Further information about the ‘Ramadhan Hijau’ campaign including the best waste management practices can be found on the River of Life – Public Outreach Phase 3B and 4 Facebook page – SUKA ROLPOP and Instagram page – SUKA_ROLPOP.

The River of Life Public Outreach Programme (ROLPOP) Phases 3B and 4 aims to engage, connect, and work with the communities in and around the Ampang Jaya and Selayang municipalities towards river care and preservation by inspiring the feeling of “Our River—Our Lives” / "Sungai Untuk Kehidupan Anda" (SUKA). Phase 3B is located in the Ampang river basin within the municipality of MPAJ, while Phase 4 is located at the upstream of the Gombak and Batu river basins in the municipality of MPS.
Sinar Harian, 23 June 2017