With the Covid-19 pandemic still lingering in our midst, many industries and companies have been faced with the threat of suspending their services, or worse, to close doors permanently. However, there are some where the valiant fight has to go on. Indah Water Konsortium (IWK) Sdn Bhd is one such entity that has steadfastly steered through the murky waters in an effort to sustain its noble cause to continue its sewerage services to the nation and to protect the environment.
The Flush Must Go On
During the early period of Movement Control Order (MCO), most working Malaysians were faced with adapting to the culture of Working from Home or WFH. With everyone locked-in, one can only imagine the increment of wastewater from domestic usage. And yet, all IWK’s 7,000 Sewage Treatment Plants (STP) were operating 24/7 during this tenuous period. Yes, front-line workers weren’t just doctors and nurses, but also these guys! From its management team to its field and support staff, IWK has showcased their dedication to ensure its STPs operated efficiently, as well as providing desludging services for the non-connected system which includes the Individual and Communal Septic Tanks.
Now, most would not bat an eyelid when disposing waste down the sink or through a flush, but with the infectious Covid-19 lurking, IWK had a huge task at hand in preventing any water-borne diseases in impurified wastewater that might contaminate our main water source. The vast amount of unseen and harmful microorganisms bring harm to us as individuals and also the environment, so do give the IWK guy a pat on the back for preventing the proverbial stuff from hitting the fan in what is already a painful economic period.
More Waste More Cost
Speaking of the economy, IWK has indeed recorded a hike in operating costs due to new sewerage assets undertaken by the Government and being handed to IWK for operation and maintenance, coupled with ageing assets which they need to face daily and higher compliance standards by the authorities.
To break it down, the average cost of keeping the sewerage clean per household stands at approximately RM18. That’s a far cry from the RM2 to RM8 that domestic customers are (supposed to be) paying. Sure there’s a subsidy from the government to cover the shortfall but there is a dire need for IWK, as the national sewerage company, to be more financially sustainable and not to keep depending on subsidies. In fact, Government subsidy should directly help the impoverished B40 further.
The IWK service fee has not been revised for the past 26 years since it started operations. There are understandable claims to have the rates revised just so the company can continue to sustain itself, and more importantly, our sewerage system.
A Helping Hand
Like the hero it is for keeping our wastewater management under control, IWK has also stepped up with further initiatives to assist the less fortunate during this trying Covid era.
During the MCO period, they contributed ventilators, intensive care beds, monitors for patients, personal protective equipment and hospital beds worth approximately RM200,000 to MoH. At the same time, the company also donated almost RM50,000 worth of food items to those in need.
More recently, they initiated IWK CARES, a program that not only cares for the environment, but also provides essential goods to the needy. Kicking it off at the Pusat Pemulihan Orang-Orang Cacat Selangor dan Wilayah Persekutuan, they contributed essential goods, RM1,000 cash, free desludging services as well as an IWK mini nursery using bio-solids fertilisers generated from wastewater treatment at IWK sewage treatment plants.
Doing our part!
Despite financial pressures and an on-going worldwide pandemic, IWK has truly asserted itself in keeping our water-waste and sanitation systems sustainable. In this Merdeka month where we celebrate local heroes, it has since made us that much prouder to be in the hands of said dedicated individuals.
So in the spirit of ‘Malaysia Prihatin’ (Merdeka 2020 theme ~lah), here are some ways you can give IWK a hand, cause you know, even heroes need help sometimes.
1) PAY YOUR BILLS
We can’t stress this enough. It’s a nominal sum and yet most delay payment till the warning/legal letter arrives! There are various methods set up for offline or online payment methods. There’s even a mobile app you can download to make payment. For a list of all participating services, visit their website at https://www.iwk.com.my/customer/payment-method
2) SAVE THE TREES
In the spirit of caring, don’t forget the millions of trees cut down each year to produce pointless throwaway receipts. In IWK’s case, the company prints approximately 15.5 million hardcopy bills every year, which is equivalent to 29,688 trees. Register for IWK e-Bill and opt for an electronic payment option instead to save the trees. By doing this, you also stand a chance to win Tesco vouchers! Register between July 1st 2020 and December 31st 2020 and stand a chance to receive Tesco vouchers worth RM50 each. Up to 100 Tesco vouchers will be given away each month!
3) PROPERLY DISPOSE FAT, OIL AND GREASE (FOG)
As vulgar as it sounds, FOG, when disposed improperly or illegally, causes clogged sewer pipes and coats the interior surface of the pipes leading to overflow over time. By being responsible and disposing of FOG properly, local waterways and sewer lines would be free of clogs. IWK can then collect and convert some of it into environmentally friendly biodiesel fuel, which in turn serves as an alternate fuel produced from renewable sources.
In line with the Green Technology Master Plan 2017-2030 towards environmental sustainability, IWK will ensure that all FOG will be treated according to environmental standards as proper management is needed to eliminate the FOG from harming the environment. To do this, IWK seeks the cooperation from all individuals, F&B services and contractors across the country!
4) SAVE WATER
Malaysia’s current per capita water consumption rate at 225 litre/capita/day (lcd) is considered high as compared to many developed countries such as the United Kingdom which is about 150 lcd and Singapore at 151 lcd. Hence, IWK treats approximately 5,000 million litre wastewater daily, which is equivalent to 2,000 Olympic-sized pools! In short, save water. Plus, you save money too!
That’s it. 4 simple steps to ponder (and take action on) the next time you’re sitting on your throne wondering how to be a better citizen! As IWK puts on a brave front to fight sewerage woes, it’s also important that we do our part.
To learn more, visit www.iwk.com.my