Call to protect Sungai Johor

Sungai Johor is the main source of raw water supply in south Johor. — Filepic

JOHOR BARU: Johor government is urged to be more proactive in monitoring the quality of Sungai Johor as the river is the main source of raw water supply in south of the state.

Green Earth Society Johor president P. Sivakumar said based on incidents over the years, contamination in the river caused inconvenience to hundreds of thousands of consumers.

He said the main cause of pollution in Johor’s longest river was the high content of ammonia in the water due to effluents discharged by oil palm mills upstream.

Sivakumar said the high content of ammonia in the water led to water treatment plants in Sungai Johor, Sungai Sayong, Sungai Semanggar and Tai Hong to temporarily stop operations.

“The victims are domestic users, businesses and industries in Johor Baru, Kota Tinggi, Pasir Gudang and Iskandar Puteri districts, when pipes run dry,’’ he said.

Sivakumar said sand mining activities, including illegal ones along Sungai Johor also polluted the river, causing a drastic decline in fish and fresh water prawns.

“Strict enforcement is needed or else Johor will face severe water crisis in the near future as Sungai Johor is drying up,’’ he said.

He said the oil palm mills found discharging effluents into Sungai Johor must be held responsible, with legal action taken against them and their licences revoked. He said secondary rivers such as Sungai Lingui, Sungai Tengkil, Sungai Pelepah, Sungai Sayong, Sungai Layang and Sungai Telor were also facing a similar fate like Sungai Johor.

Sivakumar said sand mining activities caused the upstream of Sungai Johor to become shallow; disrupting water flow into the secondary rivers.

He said the mining activities also created sand mining pools that posed danger to the public, especially children.

He said Johor should engage with the local community, Orang Asli and inland fishermen living along Sungai Johor to monitor water quality and keep tabs on Sungai Johor.

He said Johor could provide test kits for them to take water samples from Sungai Johor regularly and send them to the Department of Environment for analysis.

Sivakumar said the move could prevent major water disruptions in south Johor.

“These people know Sungai Johor better than most of us as a majority of them depend on the river for their livelihood,’’ he said.

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