Sahabat Alam Malaysia (SAM) urges the Penang state government and relevant authorities to pay serious attention and take effective measures to overcome the pollution from domestic sewage and waste from shrimp farms that are increasingly spreading in Kuala Sungai Pinang, Balik Pulau.
The pollution problem that has persisted for more than ten years involves the drainage system, the coastal area and the surrounding sea, affecting the lives and livelihood of 5,000 persons and fishers that have to bear with stench and dwindling catch.
Our survey found that the ditches here were sedimented with sludge and debris from residential areas and aquaculture ponds. The water in the ditch were black and frothy.
There are several drains and dozens of channels in the area where waste is discharged into the water bodies and then flows directly into the sea, causing the waters off Balik Pulau here contaminated. This marine pollution subsequently threatens marine life and the livelihood of about 2,000 fishermen in Kuala Sungai Pinang, Pantai Acheh, Kuala Sungai Burung and Pulau Betong whose catches such as fish, shrimp, crabs, mussels and clams have been affected.
Since this incident occurred many complaints have been made by the Consumers Association of Penang (CAP) and the affected fishermen to the state government including the City Council of Penang Island (MBPP) but until now no effective action has been taken.
In addition to weak enforcement by the local authority, relevant departments and agencies in their efforts to curb pollution in the state, SAM is concerned that mangrove forests in the state continue to be destroyed and more aquaculture ponds have been constructed without a thorough study of its impact on the environment, marine life and the economy of the local people.
SAM requests the Fisheries Department to conduct a specific study on the effects of pollution from aquaculture ponds on fisheries in Balik Pulau and disclose the findings to the public. SAM believes that if the source of pollution that occurs in this area is not taken seriously and allowed to continue not only the environment here will be destroyed in twenty years time but the fishermen in Penang and future generation of fishers will also become extinct in the future.