Orang Asli fishermen complain of lingering stench in the air

Mohun said the once clear water near the estuary of Sungai Kim Kim had turned grey, with an oily surface.

PASIR GUDANG: Orang Asli fishermen living near the estuary of Sungai Kim Kim are worried about lingering traces of chemicals in the air here following the chemical pollution incident in March.

Kampung Orang Asli Teluk Kabong head Muhum Moen, 32, said the stench from the first pollution incident had not cleared completely in the area.

“We reported this to the authorities and they visited the site to conduct checks.

“We were told the river and area is clear of any harmful chemicals but we are not convinced that everything is fine,” he said.

Muhum said fishes and other river produce had reduced significantly over the years, forcing the fishermen to look for new fishing sites.

“We used to net about 10kg of prawns within a few hours but now are lucky if we can get even 1kg in a day.

“We are worried about consuming the fish we catch now. We fear it may not be safe,” he said, adding that the once clear river had also turned grey, with an oily surface.

“The people’s safety, especially that of children, must be ensured.

“My eldest daughter, from SMK Tanjung Puteri Resort, also faced breathing difficulties during the Sungai Kim Kim pollution.

“I hope the authorities will conduct more checks here.

“The pollution has affected our likelihood and we do not want to take any more chances,” he said, adding that there were about 50 fishermen in the village.

Muhum added that the stench had also driven customers away from eating at the seafood restaurants operated by the local community. The pollution in Sungai Kim Kim had resulted in more than 4,000 people falling ill, with the temporary closure of 111 schools in Pasir Gudang district. – By VENESA DEVI

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