USM water expert, who is also the President of Water Watch Penang, blames senseless development, forest-clearing for water column phenomenon
“Universiti Sains Malaysia’s School of Humanities water expert Prof Chan Ngai Weng told The Vibes that the phenomenon is partly due to climate change (extremely heavy rain) and partly due to anthropogenic activities, such as forest-clearing, construction, agriculture and virgin forests developed into built-up areas.
“Forests have a valuable flood-control function in absorbing huge amounts of rainwater.
“For example, during the dry season, almost 90-100% of rainfall is absorbed by forests. During the rainy season, less is absorbed, but 30-70% of rainwater is still absorbed.
“Once the forests are cleared, there is 0% absorption as 100% of the rainwater flows as run-off on the land into rivers. Hence, we have mudflows and flash floods like what happened in Yan yesterday (Wednesday).”
He said climate change cannot be solely blamed for the phenomenon, as humans are also the instigating culprits.
“So, we should look in the mirror and point the finger at ourselves and not blame nature, the weather or God.”