Sahabat Alam Malaysia (SAM) is concerned with the recent arsenic pollution in Sungai Rui Gerik, Perak as not only is it affecting the water quality and the marine eco system but the lives of humans are in danger if the problem is not addressed immediately.
Thus, SAM urges the Perak government, department of Environment (DOE), Department of Irrigation and Drainage (JAS) and the local authority to conduct continuous monitoring in order to ensure that the mining operation which is believed to be the cause of the pollution no longer carries out unlawful activities.
SAM regrets that eventhough Sungai Rui has been polluted for more than 30 years, yet no adequate action has been taken by the parties involved to overcome it. SAM believes that if the condition persists, there would be threats and adverse effects resembling the disasters that hit Sungai Kim Kim in Johor.
In an investigation conducted by SAM, residents involved made aware that the Sungai Rui water was previously used by them daily for household activities. Once the pollution got worse, not only did the residents develop skin diseases in fact marine life such as shrimp and fish were threatened. Agricultural activities were also affected.
SAM hopes that this issue is given serious attention by the state government as if left unattended more repercussion will affect the environment and the lives of residents who live nearby the river.
In addition to enforcing strict law, severe penalties should be imposed on those found guilty of violating the rules set forth under the relevant act. SAM hopes that a monitoring committee for Sungai Rui will be set up soon to ensure that no one is arbitrarily polluting the river.
SAM requests for latest information of investigation and test reports on the water sample of Sungai Rui to be made public from time to time to the residents in order to calm down the concern that has been shackling them till now. SAM would follow up this issue with the cooperation of the residents.
S. M. MOHAMED IDRIS