Sahabat Alam Malaysia (SAM) urges the Penang state government to seriously take action against two pig farms operating in Gertak Sanggul in the southwestern part of the island. The farms were allegedly releasing untreated pig waste into the sea. Immediate action is needed so that residents, fishermen and the public who often visit the area are assured that the State Government had taken action to address this long-standing problem.
Over the years SAM had lodged complaints regarding the pollution numerous times to the relevant authorities including the Penang State Government, Penang Island City Council (MBPP), Department of Irrigation and Drainage (DID), Department of Environment (DOE) and Veterinary Services Department but the problem still remains unresolved as if the authorities did not take effective actions to resolve the pollution problem.
Meetings and field visits have also been conducted before and the assurances by some of the concerned agencies that the pollution will be curbed seem to be mere words but no effective action was taken. We are thus disappointed.
State Agriculture, Agro-based Industries, Rural Development and Health committee chairman Dr Afif Bahardin, was quoted in Free Malaysia Today (FMT) online news dated 17 September 2018 stating that the stench of untreated pig waste was affecting those living along the coast while the waste itself was depleting fishermen’s catch. He was further quoted that he was very upset over the irresponsible acts of some pig farmers who have failed to properly supervise their farms and that the state government will not compromise but will take stern action against the pig farmers who do not meet the set procedures.
The article also states that for decades the pig farms in Gertak Sanggul and many places in Seberang Perai have adversely affected the environment. The responsible authorities should acknowledge that most of the waste and sewage generated from pig farms that are released into the ditch, river or sea are not treated 100%.
When sewage treatment systems are not used such problems will arise and cause discomfort to residents and fishermen who face bad odor, besides causing pollution in the surrounding area.
In addition, The Star daily also reported that a marine biologist had warned that extreme bacterial blooms can infect Gertak Sanggul’s seafood with harmful pathogens, from the salmonella bacteria to E-Coli and even the Hepatitis A virus due to the pig waste pollution in the coast of Gertak Sanggul.
SAM urges all the relevant authorities to take stringent action and impose heavier penalties on pig farmers who have polluted the coastal area of Gertak Sanggul. SAM believes that if this problem is left unresolved it will not only threaten the environment more seriously in the future, but affect public health and livelihoods of fishermen who depend on fish catch here.
SAM hopes that the statement by the State Agriculture, Agro-based Industries, Rural Development and Health committee chairman Dr Afif Bahardin this time proves to the residents that the State is serious about not compromising and will act strictly against pig farmers who do not adhere to established procedures.
S M Mohamed Idris