On 26th February 2020, an urban garden in Sungai Bunus received a visit from 20 students of Tsukuba University accompanied by 15 undergraduate students of Malaysia-Japan International Institute of Technology, Universiti Teknologi Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur who volunteered to plant trees at the downstream area of the river.
The Japanese delegates came for 3 days to MJIIT for Malaysia-Japan Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) Program: Environmental Conservation through Biodiversity. This collaborative program organised by MJIIT and Tsukuba University composed of plenary lectures, SDGs group work discussion and presentations, community work, and environmental technical visit.
For this community work at the urban garden, Sungai Bunus, the students have participated in volunteerism activities such as monitoring the river water quality, making compost from organic wastes, and plogging.
In 2012, under the River Cleaning component, a Public Outreach Program (POP) was initiated to foster partnerships and promote a sense of ownership toward rivers as well as initiate long term and sustainable behavior towards preserving the river. The target groups of the POP are the general public, educational institutions, local communities, and corporations. Sungai Bunus is contained as part of the Klang River in the POP.
As part of the Sungai Bunus community, UTM Kuala Lumpur takes a lead to educate and increase awareness in environmental sustainability under the Community Volunteerism Program at the urban garden which is located at the downstream area of Sungai Bunus.
The program was led by Dr. Aznah Nor Anuar, Deputy Director of UTM Centre for Community and Industry Networking, who is also an associate professor from Department of Chemical and Environmental Engineering, Malaysia-Japan International Institute of Technology. The aim was to provide education and awareness to the local communities and students through green and healthy lifestyle towards environmental biodiversity conservation at Sungai Bunus.
UTM also collaborated with NGOs, agencies, and industries to actively organise weekly activities such as sustainable gardening, river cleaning, river water quality monitoring, green technology transfer initiatives, fun walk, and plogging activities.
The students also take part in activities initiated by BERNAMA which were colouring and book sharing. According to Puan Hasnita from BERNAMA, reading or colouring at riverside(outdoor) was an effective way to de-stress and at the same time improve mental focus which was good to be practiced as a healthy-successful lifestyle.
In the future, Dr. Aznah would like to welcome more students and public to visit the urban garden in Sungai Bunus and see this area as an education centre (living lab) and community gathering platform for environmental sustainability activities especially in river care program.
Moreover, UTM team is currently developing the basic amenities at the urban garden such as eco-toilet, rainwater harvesting system for plant irrigation, educational cabin, and composting site. The team has targeted those developments to be fully completed at the end of this year.