‘Pollution not to blame for black river’

The state government said maintaining the cleanliness of Sungai Melaka was a priority because of its historic, tourism and agricultural importance. — Filepic

POLLUTION is not to blame for the discolouration of Sungai Melaka and the presence of dead fish.

State Housing, Local Government and Environment committee chairman Datuk Tey Kok Kiew said the phenomenon was due to the high-level of salinity present in the river due to ocean currents.

“Only the tilapia species was affected and seven samples collected from various points along the river which was tested by the Department of Environment (DoE) showed the problem was not due to the discharge of effluents or industrial waste,” he said in a press conference.

Tey said most of the dead fish were found at the river’s estuary and not along the channel.

“Logically, if there was pollution it would have first affected the spot where the effluents were discharged.”

State Health and Anti-Drug Committee chairman Low Chee Leong had blamed the pollution of the river and dead fish on industrial effluents.Tey said DoE had also conducted checks at three sewage treatments plants along Sungai Melaka as well as 26 industrial sites at Batu Berendam, Cheng and Malim.

“All but one of the sites had complied with regulations and the factory that didn’t was compounded by DoE,” he said.

Tey added the discolouration of the river was caused by the Drainage and Irrigation Department’s flushing work at the Batu Hampar barrage gate.He said the water had become stagnant because of dry weather and the flushing work had caused sediment from the riverbed turning a stretch of the river black.

“The same thing happened in April 2017,” he said, adding that cleaning of the river is ongoing.

Tey added that maintaining the cleanliness of Sungai Melaka was a priority because of the river’s historic value and its importance to the tourism and agricultural industries.


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    Source: Department of Environment, Malaysia