Ocean Cleanup lauds Selangor, NGOs after slammed for lack of consultation in Coldplay-backed Klang River project
A view of the Klang River in Kuala Lumpur April 30, 2019. — Picture by Choo Choy May

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KUALA LUMPUR, April 5 — The Ocean Cleanup of Netherlands and Landasan Lumayan Sdn Bhd (LLSB) have today come to the defence of Selangor, saying that the Klang River cleaning project would not be possible without the help of the state government and other local groups.

In a joint statement today, both of them brushed off public comments that the project does not take into account local governments’s involvement.

“The cleaning of Klang River has been ongoing since 2016 and stepped up in 2018 with the initiation of the Selangor Maritime Gateway project that is looking at cleaning the river in order to drive a new riverine economy for Selangor.

“This initiative has made a noticeable difference in the water quality and cleanliness of the river, thanks to the joint effort by the state government, local agencies as well as local and international NGOs,” said Syaiful Azmen Nordin, managing director of LLSB.

This response came after news surfaced last week that British band Coldplay is sponsoring a second Interceptor watercraft — dubbed the Interceptor 005 — for the purpose of cleaning up the Klang River.

Meanwhile, Ewout Eelkman Rooda, the director of river at The Ocean Cleanup, said the success of the first Interceptor — dubbed Interceptor 002 — has made a highly relevant contribution in validating the international programme.

“The close cooperation we experienced in Malaysia, and specifically in Selangor, has been very much appreciated.

“Building on our good experiences in Klang, we are looking forward to expand our operations, starting with Interceptor 005 in the second half of the year, and considerably increase the contribution of our technological solutions towards cleaner surface waters nationwide,” he said.

LLSB, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the state-linked Menteri Besar Selangor (Incorporated) is mandated by the state government to manage the SMG, which aims to clean and rehabilitate the Klang River.

In October 2019, the Interceptor 002 was placed in the Klang river as the result of the first collaboration between The Ocean Cleanup and the Selangor state government.

According to LLSB, the Interceptor 002 has been able to pull over 30 metric tonnes of trash a month from the river.

This complements seven log booms placed along a 56km stretch of the river — from Mid Valley City, Kuala Lumpur to the river’s mouth in Port Klang — that collectively catch a total of 900MT of trash a month.

Between 2016 and 2020, the amount of debris extracted from Klang River by the initiative has reached 67,000 MT — approximately the weight of 13,500 adult Asian elephants.

During the same time period, it was reported that the Water Quality Index (WQI) of the river has concurrently improved from Class V to Class III.