Residents call for stern action against polluters

Sungai Rinching leads into Sungai Semenyih.

LONG-time residents in Pekan Semenyih question the authorities as to why no stern action, such as revoking of business licence, has been taken against numerous repeated polluters in the area.

Gagasan Prihatin Semenyih secretary Hamdan Abu said the company involved in Wednesday’s pollution incident was a repeat offender and had caused another pollution in 2016.

“That company has been in operation for about 20 years and this is not the first time the company has been caught polluting.

The factory in Semenyih being sealed by Kajang Municipal Council after it was found guilty of polluting a nearby river. — AZMAN GHANI/The Star

The factory in Semenyih being sealed by Kajang Municipal Council after it was found guilty of polluting a nearby river. — AZMAN GHANI/The Star

“In 2016 the authorities such as Selangor Water Management Authority (Luas) measured their pollutant index and it was about six tons.

“But that company isn’t the only one. There are many others such as poultry farms, workshops and manufacturing factories that release their waste into Sungai Semenyih,” said Hamdan who has resided in Pekan Semenyih for two decades.

He was commenting on the pollution of Sungai Rinching which led to the temporary closure of Sungai Semenyih water treatment plant.

It was reported yesterday that several areas in Petaling, Hulu Langat, Kuala Langat and Sepang were expected to experience water supply disruption and low water pressure.

A foul smell on Wednesday had alerted the authorities to the pollution.

Selangor Environment, Green Tech­­no­logy, Sci­ence and Consumer Affairs Committee chairman Hee Loy Sian said in a statement that the culprit had been ordered to stop operations.

This is to prevent further pollutants getting into Sungai Rinching from the factory, which is located about 450m from the river that leads into Sungai Semenyih.

Syarikat Bekalan Air Selangor Water stated yesterday that at 1pm water supply had resumed in 98% of the areas affected by the closure of the water treatment plant.

“My question is why hasn’t Luas and Environment Department (DOE) ever dragged the offenders to court or revoked their licence?” Hamdan asked.

“How often do those authorities check these rivers?

“What is their standard operating procedure to make sure they address the problem entirely?

“Luas should reveal to the public how many river polluters had been taken to court and how many of them are repeat offenders,” he added.

Hee told StarMetro that based on the information provided by DOE, the 2016 pollution was caused by an illegal factory in Sungai Lalang. The factory had discarded drums of solvents directly into the river.

“I was informed it is not the same factory in the latest incident,” he said.

At 6am on Thursday, the pollutant smell at Sungai Semenyih had reduced to zero and the water treatment plant had resumed its operations.

Luas’ 1999 enactment has provisions to order factories to stop operations in order to protect the environment, health and public safety.

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