The Green Earth Society Johor (GEBS) is urging the Johor government to hold a round-table discussion with non-governmental organisations (NGOs) on environment related issues in the state.
GEBS president P. Sivakumar said the state government has yet to meet up with the NGOs since coming into power in May last year.
“There are many environment related issues that need immediate attention and appropriate action from the state government, including river pollution and deforestation,’’ he said.
Sivakumar said the round-table discussion would provide a good platform for the state government, relevant agencies and departments to get a better insight into environmental issues in the state.
“Lack of engagement between the past state government and environmental NGOs must not be repeated with the current state government,’’ he said.
Sivakumar said Johor must ensure that forest reserves or jungles in the state were free from human encroachment for illegal agriculture and logging activities as they were the main water catchment areas.
He added that polluted and contaminated rivers would not only affect raw water supply but also the livelihood of inland fishermen who depended on them.
“Many rivers in Kota Tinggi district used to have abundance of freshwater prawns but the population is now shrinking,’’ said Sivakumar.
He said there should also be better coordination between the state Department of Environment and the state Water Regulatory Body (Bakaj), including sharing of data between them to address river water pollution.Johor Consumers Movement Association chairman Md Salleh Sadijo said everyone in Johor was part owner of its natural heritage, and progress and development should not only be measured based on materialistic aspects.
“Johor has to take a balanced approach in its quest to become a developed state while protecting the environment for the future generation,’’ he said.
Md Salleh said effective enforcement must be in place for the state’s progress.