The Consumers’ Association of Penang (CAP) and Sahabat Alam Malaysia (SAM) urge the Pahang government to compensate fishermen whose source of livelihood had been affected by pollution from bauxite mining activities in the state.
The issuance of compensation must be expedited as the pollution problem has threatened the livelihood of the fisher group and caused burden to them and their families.
In relation to this, CAP and SAM request the State Fisheries Department and the Fisheries Development Authority of Malaysia (LKIM) to study and assess the loss suffered by the fishers besides ensuring that action is taken by the responsible parties to rehabilitate and restore the rivers and sea that were polluted by the bauxite mining operations.
Other than Zone A that the inshore fishers depend on to make a living that has been affected by pollution, three rivers i.e. Sungai Pengorak, Sungai Riau and Sungai Mabok are in very dangerous situation because the water was confirmed by the Department of Environment (DOE) of Pahang to contain aluminium, arsenic and mercury.
Coastal areas that are experiencing serious marine pollution are in Balok, stretching from Sungai Pengorak to Pantai Batu Hitam. The livelihood of approximately 300 fishermen who are dependent on fish catches in that area has been affected.
CAP and SAM are concerned that if the pollution affecting fishing areas in the state is not addressed effectively, various species of marine life may become extinct in the future and it could cause fishermen to lose their source of income.
Therefore, the government must not only ensure the quality of river water and sea are at safe levels, but also that the seabed is free from sedimentation of bauxite residue.
On the issue of bauxite mining in the state that has generated protests by many parties due to a variety of adverse effects resulting from these activities, CAP and SAM urge immediate cessation of the operation rather than temporary, as announced by the government recently.
The bauxite mining activities should not be continued because it is proven damaging to the environment and affected the lives of the people.