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  Channel NewsAsia 4 Feb 06
Volunteers patrol rivers as part of PUB's "Our Waters" Programme

By Valarie Tan, Channel NewsAsia

Rivers in Singapore have found 20 "foster parents". These are companies and schools who have adopted the waterways under the Public Utilities Board's "Our Waters" Programme.

These volunteers like the Punggol South Riverwatch Group organise activities like boat patrols to ensure rivers are clean and safe. The Punggol South Riverwatch Group patrols Sungei Serangoon for two to three hours at any one time, picking up fish carcasses, plastic bags and bottles.

But this is just one aspect of what the group does. The volunteers also conduct house visits and school talks to raise awareness about keeping the river clean.

Frederick Yeo, chairman of the Punggol South Riverwatch Group, said: "If we volunteer ourselves, it gives us more ownership (of the river). If you say you can depend on the government, they can do it. But they can't be everywhere. As residents, we use the river. So we can pass the message across that when you use it and it's dirty, you'll feel uncomfortable. If it's clean, you'll also enjoy the scenery and everything."

If volunteers are certified swimmers, they also look out for suspicious activities on the banks during their patrols. - CNA/ir

PUB's MacRitchie Volunteer Programme be a volunteer ranger or guide or submit photos and stories as volunteer photographers, writers and designers more on the PUB website

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