Mangrove forest under threat from leachate spillage, says president

A photo provided by SAM of the mangrove forest in Nibong Tebal where the leachate has overflown into.

A photo provided by SAM of the mangrove forest in Nibong Tebal where the leachate has overflown into.

OVERFLOWING leachate believed to be from a retention pond at the Pulau Burung sanitary landfill on the Penang mainland into a mangrove forest and a ditch nearby has raised concern among environmenta-lists.

Sahabat Alam Malaysia (SAM) president S.M. Mohamed Idris said they were worried the foamy and blackish water would pollute the environment if the current situation persisted in Nibong Tebal.

“We carried out a site inspection and found that the leachate pond is full.

“The water was seen overflowing into the mangrove forest and a nearby ditch belonging to the state Drainage and Irrigation Department.

“We are afraid it may eventually flow into the sea,” he said in a press statement on Tuesday, adding that the liquid also emitted foul odour.

Mohamed Idris said if the situation was left unattended, the permanent forest reserve would be adversely affected.

He said the fishermen’s livelihood would also be threatened due to sea pollution.

“We hope the local authorities can take immediate action to address the critical level of leachate spilling over from the retention pond.

“They need to conduct investigation soon as landfill leachate normally contains ammonia, heavy metals, organic compounds and other hazardous pollutants,” he said.

Mohamed Idris said both SAM and Penang Inshore Fisherman Welfare Association were worried about the dangerous level of leachate.

He urged the state government, Seberang Prai Municipal Council, state Department of Environment, state Irrigation and Drainage Department and the state Forestry Department to take the matter seriously.

“We are deeply concerned as most of the mangrove trees in the forest reserve are dying, probably due to the leachate,” he said.

“If the problem is not looked into imme-diately, the impact on the environment will become worse.

“We hope local authorities will take immediate action to address this problem,” he said.

State Local Government and Traffic Management Committee chairman Chow Kon Yeow could not be reached for comments.