GEORGE TOWN: The Government will have a clearer picture on the cause behind the severe pollution of the river flowing into Penang’s Batu Feringghi beach area once it receives an official report on the matter today.
“The Department of Environment (DOE) is studying the source of pollution in this area and a report will be submitted to me.
“I cannot reveal who is responsible for the pollution.
“We have to wait for the complete report first,” said Natural Resources and Environment Minister Datuk Seri G. Palanivel after visiting the beach yesterday.
Some possible sources of the water pollution are nearby premises including the sewage treatment plant, three food outlets, three laundry services and a car wash.
The detailed report would paint a more precise picture of who is to blame.
Palanivel said court action would be taken against the culprits in a week or so, and punishment upon conviction could range from a fine of up to RM100,000, or a jail term not more than five years, or both.
Palanivel also suggested that local authorities installed drainage pipes to discharge water far from the beach and well out to sea, to protect the cleanliness of rivers and beaches in Batu Ferringhi.
“During my visit, I found the water at the Penang Bridge to be quite clean. But here (the beach), it is dirty.
“As such, I suggest that the local authorities install the pipe 2km to 3km out to sea.
“We cannot install pipes only up to the beach as the stench is also strong,” he said.
Palanivel said the ministry, through DOE, would continue to monitor the area daily until it was satisfied that the pollution along the beach was successfully tackled.
On the suggestion by Deputy Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Hilmi Yahaya that the state government close off the Batu Ferringhi beach temporarily to the public, he said it was up to the state government to do so. — Bernama