In 2016, a total of 16,408 tonnes of waste was collected. This is a drop of 38% to 10,244 metric tons of waste collected last year.

From 2016 to 2021, a total of 77,419 metric tons of waste were collected from the river.

The two interceptors have collected approximately 845 metric tons of trash since deployment.

Organic waste collected represents 49% of waste, while inorganic waste represents 51%.

About 80% of inorganic waste consists of plastics, said Mr Syaiful Azmen.

“Previously, boats could not travel (along) the Klang River because plastic waste got stuck in their propellers. Or even if they did, they would have to go slowly, and it could take two hours for a 20 km ride.

“Today it takes about 30 minutes,” he said, showing photos of huge piles of trash in the Klang River before they embarked on river cleanup measures.

He said the waste collected is taken to landfills for disposal, adding that the plastics cannot be recycled because they are too dirty.

In 2016, the water quality index (WQI) of the Klang River was classified as class five, or considered highly contaminated most of the time.

Last year, the WQI was class three, which means moderately good or better on 48% of the days of the year.

Mr Syaiful Azmen said they aim to achieve 70% class three IQE days within a year.

“Our main task is to ensure that the raw water is always of good quality to reduce the operating costs of the water treatment plant,” he noted.

Once the Sungai Rasau water treatment plant is completed, it will draw raw water for treatment from the Klang River.

Mr. Syaiful Azmen hopes that the litter problem in the Klang River can be solved by 2030.

“It’s not a sustainable business. We spend money and make efforts to clean up our own mess. This money and effort should be diverted to more useful activities rather than collecting waste,” he said.