By Dr. Zufarzaana Zulkeflee
TANJUNG TUALANG, 4 April-The Faculty of Environmental Studies (FPAS) of Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM) via the Faculty of Environmental Studies Students Association (FESSA) launched ‘The 2018 Love Our Lake (LOL) Programme’, a premier ‘gotong royong’ programme with the inland fishermen community from February to April recently.
The highlight of the event took place in Tanjung Tualang, Perak from 2 to 4 April, and the event was officiated on 3 April by Perak Chief Minister's representative, Dato Abdullah Fauzi Ahmad Razali who is also the Kampung Gajah assemblyman.
About 200 people from the UPM contingent, representatives of various local agencies and Kampung Gajah community members conducted a post clean-up activity to ensure the total eradication of invasive macrophytes (water hyacinth) to prevent the re-spreading of the weed during the highlight of LOL 2018.
The programme which was a collaboration with the Freshwater Fisheries Society (PENIAT) was a continuous effort from environmental forensic investigations carried out by FPAS, UPM to help inland fishermen community to curb the deteriorating quality of the lake ecosystem which resulted in the decline of fish catches.
This initiative also proved UPM’s dedication to maintain its position in the UI-GreenMetric World University Ranking at the national and international level which involved the cultivation of sustainable green policies and management of the environment.
Findings from a series of environmental forensic studies carried out since 2016 were presented to the stakeholders of the lake on December 2017, followed by the launch of the highlight of the LOL 2018 Programme, and they resulted in one action plan that solved the core environmental issues of the lake ecosystem i.e. the spread of invasive macrophytes.
This was one of the programme series which boosted the inland fishermen community, and it focused on three main objectives such as the eradication of invasive macrophytes which involved a comprehensive, sustainable solid waste management and repair of the main waterway for a smoother water flow in and out of the lake.
The long-term programme which was spearheaded by Dr. Nor Rohaizah Jamil and Dr. Zufarzaana Zulkeflee aimed at boosting the community by conserving the environment in a sustainable manner and improving the rural socioeconomic level which was in line with National Blue Ocean Strategy (NBOS). The highlight of LOL 2018 was also commemorated by Dr. Noorain Mohd Isa.
The main sponsor for this Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Programme was Ultratrex Machinery Sdn. Bhd. who contributed in the operational cost of the lake clean-up and sponsored the use of machineries to remove the water hyacinth which covered the surface of the lake for about 200 hectares.
Perak Exco Committee Members Dato’ Nolee Ashilin Mohammed Radzi and Dato’ Abdullah Fauzi also contributed for this cause.
Dr. Nor Rohaizah said, “This time around the programme kick-started with the solution to one of the most critical issues faced by the inland fishermen community i.e. the spread of invasive macrophyte population which covered more than 90% of the surface of the lake.”
“This alien species which originated from the Amazon not only disrupted fishing activity and boat navigation in these areas, but also degraded water quality and harmed aquatic ecosystem of the lake as a whole,” she added.
Dr. Zufarzaana further assured that programmes to boost inland fishermen community will be carried out continuously in the future to ensure that the lake ecosystem is conserved and fishing activities are uninterrupted for the freshwater fishermen community.
“Besides increasing the competitive advantage of the inland fishermen in these areas that ensured a good source of income and standard of living for them, this programme also reduced the percentage of Bottom 40% (B40) community in Malaysia especially in rural areas,” she continued. - UPM
Updated:: 30/04/2018 [hairul_nizam]
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