THE Penang government will give priority to rehabilitating Sungai Pinang before cleaning up other rivers.
State Local Government, Traffic Management and Flood Mitigation Committee chairman Chow Kon Yeow said the Penang River and Sea Pollution Task Force would concentrate on Sungai Pinang.
“We can’t stretch it out to handle all rivers as we need to prioritise our work in the rehabilitation of rivers,” said Chow when commenting on a statement by the Consumers’ Association of Penang (CAP) that a river in Kampung Titi Hitam, Nibong Tebal and the river near the Bukit Minyak Industrial Estate were dead due to pollution.
CAP said that in a recent survey, the river in Kampung Titi Hitam had turned black and smelly due to pig waste pollution and rubbish.
Its president S.M. Mohamed Idris said a 1km stretch along the river in the village might disappear in the near future due to clogging and sedimentation if the source of the pollution was not addressed immediately.
The other river, he said, was dead due to effluents discharged from nearby factories.
CAP said it found that trees on the riverbank had withered and were nearly dying from the effects of pollution.
CAP also said the issue had been dragging on for so long and it not only caused bad odour and threatened the aquatic life in the river and the sea, but also jeopardised the livelihood of the coastal fishing communities.
Speaking to reporters after opening the Malaysian Secondary Property Exhibition (MASPEX) at Queensbay Mall recently, Chow said the task force was working closely to monitor other rivers.
“The rehabilitation of Sungai Pinang is a massive task and the task force is using its manpower and expertise to clean it up first,” he added.
The task force comprises the Drainage and Irrigation Department, Department of Environment, Penang Island City Council and Seberang Prai Municipal Council.