Sahabat Alam Malaysia (SAM) has urged the Department of Environment (DOE) of Perak to investigate and take stern action against those responsible in polluting Sungai Rui, near Gerik recently.
In addition to the stringent action, the party responsible for committing the offence should also be subject to heavy penalties, commensurate with the adverse effects to the environment and the death of fish in the river due to their polluting activity.
Commenting on a report in a local daily (Berita Harian: October 30, 2014) on this issue, SAM hopes the DOE will enforce the Environmental Quality Act 1974 firmly and incessantly so that similar incidents do not recur in the future.
Last week about five tonnes of various species of fish in Sungai Rui died of poisoning and it was suspected that the source of pollution is effluents discharged from a factory operating in the area. Among the fish species that were found dead were loma, kelabau, baung, lampam and including prawns.
According to the Head of the Gerik Fisheries Office, Zainuddin Yaacob, an inspection conducted by his Office found that river water along a 8km stretch from Kampung Lalang to Kampung Temenggor found that the water was black due to pollution from the factory’s effluents.
This incident has also affected the livelihood of small fishers who are dependent on fish catches in the river because many of the dead fish were of high quality.
SAM is disappointed that although the threat of pollution to Sungai Rui has been going on for years but no effective action was taken earlier. The pollution problem had persisted to the present dismaying situation and worse than before.
SAM believes that if stern legal action is not taken on the perpetrator involved with the discharging of toxic waste into the river, fish here will soon become extinct and the livelihood of small riverine fishers here will be seriously affected. The affected fishers should be given compensation to ease their financial burden due to loss of income.
SAM hopes that the Perak state government and Local Authorities will give serious attention to this problem by monitoring the situation constantly so that the factory does not pollute the river.