Subscribe to our Telegram channel for the latest updates on COVID-19 and other issues.
Malaysians working in sectors categorised as “essential services” are still heading out to work just like normal. Some of us might have seen them while we are on our way to do grocery shopping or pick up our food orders.
We call them “frontliners”, and we are really grateful for the work they are doing. Government officials, private companies, and even ordinary Malaysians have shown their appreciation through the media or in the form of complimentary meals.
But there seems to be one group of essential workers whom many forgot are still working on the frontlines, and their work is often described as “dangerous, dirty, and difficult”.
Sewage treatment is an essential service, but even more so during a pandemic
It is common knowledge that sewage treatment is important to ensure the wellbeing of the nation. Untreated sewage is not just dirty and smells horrible, but also contains bacteria and viruses that are harmful to people.
As such, sewage treatment is a crucial job due to the current situation.
A leading respiratory expert from China stated that in order to reduce infections, countries should pay attention to the drainage system to ensure smooth sewage flow. This is to ensure that sewage, which includes faeces, can be channelled to treatment plants as quickly as possible for treatment.
According to a Technical Brief issued by the World Health Organisation, any well-designed and well-managed wastewater treatment plant (like the ones run by Indah Water Konsortium) is able to destroy the virus.
Business as usual, but with extra precaution
Like every frontliner who is working during the MCO period, sewage treatment plant workers have to be extra cautious when executing their duties.
As their work involves being near sewage and wastewater, Indah Water Konsortium (IWK) started providing their employees with personal protective equipment. Health screening is also conducted for all those who are on duty.
IWK is also still providing desludging services during the MCO, and septic tank owners are encouraged to call the nearest IWK office to arrange for it. Septic tanks should be desludged once every two years to prevent the release of untreated sewage into public drains, which could expose people to harmful bacteria and viruses.
The national sewerage company also recently provided free desludging service for Hospital Sultanah Nur Zahirah in Kuala Terengganu as a helpful gesture to keep the hospital clean and safe.
We can help too – by not throwing rubbish down the sink and toilet
We can start by not pouring cooking oil into the sink, as oil will cause blockages in the drains when it solidifies. Similarly, we shouldn’t be flushing any solids down the toilet bowl as well.
And most importantly, we can definitely help by staying home during the MCO.
I have an unhealthy obsession with chocolate, gummy candy, and "Confucius says" jokes.