Thorough cleanup of Prangin Canal

(From left) Gooi, Teh and Yee releasing koi fish into Prangin Canal at Sia Boey Urban Archaeological Park in Penang.

THE Penang Development Corporation (PDC) has spent RM18,500 to clean up the Prangin Canal at the Sia Boey Urban Archaeological Park in Penang.

Komtar assemblyman Teh Lai Heng said cleaning work on the 250m-long water feature was carried out between Oct 27 and Nov 19 to restore the ecosystem and ease canal maintenance in the future.

He said the ecosystem was badly upset with a swelling population of fish coupled with the introduction of “new species” in the canal.

“Initially, only koi and tilapia were introduced to control larvae growth in the canal.

“But due to the popularity of Sia Boey as a public space and an urban archaeological park, many people started feeding the fish.

“They even brought patin, catfish and tortoises to the water feature and this has altered the balanced ecosystem within the canal.

“It has caused a thick layer of sludge because of fish excretions and algal efflorescence, ” he said after releasing 120 koi fish into the canal yesterday.

Teh said the canal was designed as a closed loop self-sustaining water body, with a filtering system meant for a small number of fish that would work towards maintaining algal growth and preventing mosquito infestation around the canal.

He said they had to remove about 1,400 tilapia, 250 koi fish, eight patin and two tortoises from the canal before the cleaning process could begin.

He said fish waste and other sludge were removed manually, while a water pressure gun and a brush were used to clean the algae formed at the base and side of the canal.

“The pipes and bio-filter chambers were also cleaned.

“The filtration pump system was serviced and the canal was disinfected before it was refilled with water.

“A pond specialist has been appointed to maintain the cleanliness of the canal and the filtering system on a monthly basis, ” he said.

Teh said signboards might be put up in the near future to remind the public not to feed the fish or introduce new species to the canal, adding that only 200 koi fish would remain in the canal at any one time.

The Sia Boey Rejuvenation Project, spearheaded by the PDC and George Town World Heritage Incorporated (GTWHI), was launched on March 24 in 2018 to facilitate the coexistence of development and heritage conservation.

Present were Pengkalan Kota assemblyman Daniel Gooi, GTWHI general manager Dr Ang Ming Chee and Prestige Pools Construction Sdn Bhd managing director Richard Yee.

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