Have you read Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz’s, the former minister of tourism, arts, and culture in Malaysia, comment about the country’s annual flood?
It’s alright if you haven’t read it yet; it wasn’t really ground-breaking or fantastic.
In summary, the former minister suggested that we take advantage of the disaster to boost tourism and attract kind-hearted visitors.
We’ll give you time to process that.
Now, you might be thinking, “What the f*** is he talking about?” In that case, we can’t say we blame you.
We’re not blaming him entirely however since previous ministers have denied the existence of climate change, and in Malaysia, a Master of Fine Arts is not a prerequisite for the ministerial post in the arts and culture.
To be a minister in any field, a Master’s degree is not required. So, in short, you can’t just blame him. It’s the system’s fault.
Always keep in mind that the government is not to blame for everything.
Since they couldn’t possibly send out enough relief workers to cover every inch of land that had been flooded, the Malaysian government has appealed to the public for assistance and thanked them while also playing their part in helping those in need.
But this is not an essay about how terrible ministers are. The author is a kind Malaysian who cares deeply about their fellow countrymen, and therefore this post is on how to lessen the likelihood of flooding.
Malaysia, oh tanah air ku.
So. Let’s begin to discuss floods. The government is currently still doing their intensive research on combating yearly floods so we at JUICE would like to offer them help with some ideas that have proven to work and are backed up by science.
But before we proceed. let’s look at how flood happens in Malaysia.
How Can Floods Happen and Why Is It A Yearly Occurrence?
National Geographic defines a catastrophic flood as an event where water overflows excessively to dry land caused by multitudes of ways. There are many reasons why floods happen every year but let’s look at two of the main causes that happen here in Malaysia
1. Climate Change
If you are a disbeliever in climate change, it’s time to stop. Look at the ground you’re standing on now and on that same ground, people of our country in different areas see water levels reaching up to their necks during the monsoon season which inevitably will ruin the lives of their families.
The rapid melting of snow or ice in Antarctica has caused the sea level to rise.
Water from the South China Sea, which is 3.5 million square kilometres in size, would eventually reach the beaches of Malaysia, a nation with a land area of just 329,847 square kilometres.
Most of the effects of global warming may be traced back to human activities, such as the production and use of harmful chemicals in buildings and other manmade structures as well as in personal vehicles and household goods.
If we continue to consume items that are harmful to our planet, we should all share some of the responsibility for the deluge.
2. Poor Town Planning
Okay, this one we don’t have to blame ourselves anymore, thank goodness.
Because of developers’ avarice, as more and more structures are constructed on top of a tiny plot of land, the earth gradually sinks, making flooding more likely to happen.
As the ground gets lower, this will lead to water flooding over time as it doesn’t have a proper channel to flow back to the ocean, which leads to my next point.
Larger floods would result from water not being able to properly drain back into the ocean.
It is inevitable that as the Klang Valley expands, the surrounding countryside would be neglected.
This means that the rich will continue to live in comfortable homes with fewer floods as the poor fall into the dungeon of classism.
The growth of paved, impermeable regions brought about by urban development may alter the environment or ecosystem by reducing the amount of rain that can be absorbed by the soil and raising the risk of flooding, especially in low-lying places.
Now that we’ve discussed the reasons why floods take place so often, let’s look at ways we could prevent future catastrophes.
How to Prevent Floods
1. Create A Sponge City
Huh? A sponge city? Since the frequency of urban floods in China has increased by a factor of two in the last decade, this idea has gained a lot of traction there.
Dean of the College of Architecture and Landscape Architecture at Peking University Kongjian Yu has made the following claims: “A sponge city is one that can hold, clean, and drain water in a natural way – using an ecological approach.”
The rainfall that falls on a sponge city is collected and reused inside the city limits rather than being diverted elsewhere.
It may be utilised for a variety of purposes, such as recharging aquifers, flushing toilets, irrigating gardens and urban farms, and even drinking water purification.
Sponge city is not entirely new in Malaysia too as Putrajaya (another rich neighbourhood) was turned into one a few years back. We just want the world to be fair and actually help those who could lose everything in one flood.
2. Construct Flood Plains and Overflow Regions for Rivers
Long swaths of Europe’s rivers were formerly covered by floodplains. Fewer than half of these ecosystems exist now due to urban development.
Because of the vital role they play in flood control, water management, and wildlife preservation, we need a push to revitalise these floodplains in Malaysia.
The main function of floodplains is to store and absorb rainwater, protecting adjacent communities from flooding.
3. Drain Rainfall Away From the Sewage System
Cities are starting to separate rainwater from the sewage system to enhance water management and preserve the sewer system from damage.
The divide prevents excessive stormwater runoff from overwhelming the wastewater treatment facility, allowing it to do its job more efficiently.
4. Make Use of Permeable Pavement, Walkways, and Gardens
We’ve seen these in Klang Valley as well as other developed cities but not so much in rural areas affected by the floods. Sometimes, there’s not a single usable road in sight there. Again, another form of classism.
Green spaces are a rarity in certain densely populated cities. There is a lot of concrete everywhere, both on the ground and in the sky.
Concrete does not allow water to permeate through it. It has a poor capacity for retaining precipitation. It stops it and sends it into the drains, where it might become stuck and cause flooding in the streets and walkways. Concrete also absorbs so much heat that it will make the rest of the world melt.
If nothing is done, this will lead to floods.
The rationale for sustainable drainage is clear. It is recommended that impermeable surfaces be replaced with permeable materials such as grass and gardens as part of environmental measures now occurring in Europe and throughout the world.
The rainfall might then seep into the ground below. Infiltration is a process that not only helps the plants survive but thrive.
Those are some ways we could help end floods for good.
Remember, if the government is too slow, we can take action on our own. Let your voice and concern be heard, and do not be afraid to join demonstrations that would help the lives of other fellow Malaysians!
Or if you’re not the loud type but more creative, illustrate some helpful infographics on how we can take action in times like these.
Not only will the message be boosted to larger audiences but it shows solidarity towards those who need it as well.