State, Federal governments must work together with more intense weather ahead

SUBANG JAYA, Dec 24 – More erratic weather patterns can be expected with the ongoing monsoon season, says naturalist Andrew Sebastian.

The recent excessive rainwater and ensuing floods in some parts of the country is an example. It is crucial that the state and federal governments work together to improve or change existing systems to ensure the safety of people and reduce damages to properties, Andrew said in an interview with Weekly Echo recently.

Asked on the high number of landslides nationwide, the floods in the country and the unprecedented rain fall in the Klang Valley area, Andrew said the trends were reflective of more intense weather patterns due to climate change brought on by industrial activities over the decades.

However, climate change alone is not the reason for the damages and loss that the floods have brought in some places, particularly in the Klang, Shah Alam areas.

Environmental degradation, poor adherence to Environmental Impact Assessment reports and the continued removal of forests, trees, which are the first line of defence against excessive rainwater as they absorb them into the grounds, are other factors.

The consequent sediments and waste from such activities that go on to pile up on rivers and the subsequent overflow of rivers have all contributed to uncontrolled floods.

Then there has been a lack of focus from the authorities which have seen river and drainage systems that have not been improved, or not working as well as they should have, he said.

Andrew also said another factor for the devastation and even deaths were the unpreparedness on the part of agencies that should have had on ground their rescue operations resources during the monsoon while poor coordination among government ministries and agencies hindered faster help.

At one point, we had a ministry for climate change, but now there is so much of fragmentation with each area coming under different agencies and this requires a great deal of proper coordination in order to get some systems, including drainage and river systems going, he said.

“The public has also contributed to the pile of plastics and other rubbish in the rivers and during the floods, this became even more evident,” he said.