A Tale of Three Ponds

By Dr Ee Ling Yong, Hope Johor Bahru

What seems to be impossible to humans is possible with God. At the end of 2019, a group of eco enzyme volunteers approached me for help to do a case study using eco enzyme to treat polluted ponds in Taman Pelangi Indah, Ulu Tiram. For those who do not know what eco enzyme is, it is a fermented liquid of unwanted vegetables and fruit peels. Well, as a scientist in the environmental engineering field, this liquid can no doubt make polluted water even more polluted. It is considered rubbish water. However, two cases in Taiwan presented to me showed that it can remove the smell from smelly rivers and make cloudy water clearer. There is little scientific evidence to back this up. Without much data at hand, I decided to help them purely out of faith and curiosity.

Honestly, I did not have much confidence that this would work. My confidence was further shaken when a renowned professor said that this definitely will not work. It is a lonely journey because nearly no academicians believe that this would work. Before the field test, I conducted some experimental work based on the method published in previous studies and the results that I obtained were not promising. Therefore, I decided to forgo the stuff published in those studies. Instead, I looked into the basic microbiology principles related to fermentation and balanced environmental chemistry fundamentals. It was practically doing things from scratch! Using the theory that vinegar is food for bacteria, I embarked on this journey to treat the ponds in Taman Pelangi Indah.

Due to the lockdowns, the project only started at the end of 2020. There were three ponds to be treated with a total size of a whopping 36,500 square meters. The enzyme pouring frequency was two times a week. We pour 600 to 800 kgs of eco enzyme every time. I collect water samples every two weeks. During the pouring, all the work was done manually without any tools. At first, we had 42 volunteers. After a month, the number of volunteers dwindled to less than 15 people. There was an improvement but it was not very visible. To be frank, all of us wanted to give up. The main issue was determining the right amount to pour into the ponds. Pouring too little will not yield any effect and pouring too much will make the water quality worse. It was very taxing work.

But because of the sense of responsibility and faith, I persisted together with the 15 volunteers. When we hit the third month, the water quality drastically improved and the pond water color changed from rusty orange to green, which is a typical color of a normal healthy pond. The rusty smell was gone and the plants surrounding the ponds became greener. The pond water became crystal clear so that you can see the bottom of the lake. We also observed the water spider family thriving. This is an indicator of good water quality. All glory and praise to God!

God’s blessing did not stop here. This work also brought me to another level when I was recently interviewed by Sin Chew newspaper and appeared in the Johor section on 11th May 2022. I thank God that He gave me the wisdom, endurance, understanding and most importantly perseverance in this whole project. I thank God for revealing to me what He meant by Luke 18:27 “What is impossible with man is possible with God” and He can really move mountains! Amen.