In September 2020, more than a million households in Malaysia’s densely populated Klang Valley suffered extended water cuts after illegal chemical dumping debilitated the region’s aging water purification systems. In the midst of the pandemic, residents donned masks and lined up to fill buckets with water. A month later, before courts could identify and charge the culprits responsible for the September incident, a similar chemical dumping again left more than a million homes without water for days. It kept on happening, leading a groundswell of citizens calling for stronger enforcement against industrial polluters, and for reforms that could prevent water cuts from becoming the new normal. As pollution increasingly seeps into Malaysians’ daily lives, this surge of angry consumers is amplifying a call long made by civil society organizations that have demanded better environmental stewardship and heftier fines for violators — and there are signs that the current government, motivated by the recent power transitions and the increasingly dynamic competition among political parties, is taking note and is showing a concerted effort to reform the country’s environmental law. Haze over the Klang Valley, and urban conglomeration centered on Kuala Lumpur and its adjoining cities. Image by ThisParticularGreg via Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0). The baseline for environmental policy At the core of Malaysia’s national environmental policy is one fundamental document, the Environmental Quality Act (EQA) of 1974, which aimed to prevent and control pollution and set up a system to punish those who recklessly harm the environment. However, even with sporadic…This article was originally published on Mongabay Läs mer