On Step by Step Project Launching Ceremony

Speech by Chow Kon Yeow, Penang State EXCO Member for Local Government, Traffic Management and Flood Mitigation cum Vice-Chairman of Penang Green Council on 21 May 2017 during STEP by step (Sustainability and Environmental Protection) Project Launching Ceremony at Neo+ Hotel Penang: 

Good afternoon. First of all, I am delighted to be given this opportunity to launch this STEP by Step (Sustainability and Environmental Protection) Project. I am glad to see different departments and agencies have come together to support this project for Sg Pinang communities.

STEP by Step is a competition-based project organised by Penang Green Council (PGC). It is inspired by Halaman Rumah Tercantik Pulau Aman contest which was being held in 2016, as well as the Mini Green Clean Zone (MiniZeeBee) Project by Shah Alam City Council (MBSA). This is a half year project started from 1st April until 31st October 2017. It aims at raising awareness and exposure among local residents, particularly those who stay nearby Sungai Pinang, on the recent river pollution in Penang. The winning Village Security Development Committees (JKKK) will be rewarded with total cash prize up to RM16, 000. In fact, Penang State is providing a start-up fund worth RM1,500 for JKKK who participate in this competition. We hope that all participants are able to kick start this project easily by using this fund to beautify and clean their residential area.

River pollution is one of the major environmental issues in Penang. Most of the time, it becomes worse and causes flash floods. Subsequently, the poor river quality can also affects local community livelihood who resides along the river.  Illegal dumping and rubbish littering are among the factors causing Sungai Pinang pollution. People need to change their attitude by taking the ownership towards their living space. We have 128 rivers in Penang. However, we did not receive sufficient funding from the Federal Government in our river treatment. We did it in our way. Three years ago, we started micromanagement of the rivers through "one district, one river", today we received positive result, Sungai Ara is now the cleanest river in Penang, we built a linear park there, local residents have been proactively organised "gotong-royong" every week to keep the surrounding area clean. This is the spirit we need to keep Penang Cleaner and Greener.

It takes both the people and the state to make Penang cleaner and greener. Penang State Government had set June 1, 2016 for the implementation of Waste Segregation at Source Policy throughout the state. Today, we are 10 days away from the enforcement of this policy beginning on 1st June 2017. Waste segregation at source can be done easily. Public just need to spend one minute a day to sort their garbage at home, workplace or at schools into at least two streams, namely recyclables and non-recyclables. Separate the "clean and dry" garbage (paper, plastic, aluminium cans) from the "wet/ dirty" garbage (used tissue, food waste) to ensure the quality of recycling process. By separating our garbage, it helps to reduce the consumption of our natural resources and the cost of solid waste management. Most importantly, we are able to divert the amount of waste being sent to Pulau Burung landfill, and hence prolong the lifespan of the only landfill in Penang.

STEP by Step Project is more than a competition, it serves as a platform to educate and empower local community on the importance of river and taking care of their living environment. The three coaching sessions aimed to equip the community with hands-on skills and environmental knowledge. For instance, today's coaching session, Department of Irrigation and Drainage (DID) and Department of Agriculture (DOA) were invited to share about the importance of good river quality and urban farming respectively. I hope participants enjoy the process throughout this competition and be the pioneer in environmental conservation community project in Penang. If we succeed in this pilot project, we hope to promote this program to other riverside communities.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank Puan Asmah Binti Mohd Zin, Head of Community Development Department from Shah Alam City Council (MBSA) for sharing about the MiniZeeBee Project in Shah Alam with us. We are looking forward and excited to see each neighbourhood come out with their own unique way to maintain the cleanliness and beautify their residential area.

Lastly, I would also like to extend the appreciation to the Project Secretariat, Penang Green Council and the committee members for the efforts in making this project possible. The project is fully funded by Penang State Government and fully supported by ADUN Sungai Pinang, ADUN Komtar and ADUN Dato' Keramat. "Penang Always Lead", together and join the force, we can make Penang a clean and sustainable home. 

With that, STEP by step project is officially launched!

Thank you.

Chow Kon Yeow