Sorry state of Penang’s rivers

Participants cleaning up the area along Sungai Rambai in Bukit Mertajam. — Photos: ZHAFARAN NASIB/The Star

THE Penang government is concerned about the deteriorating river water quality in the state.Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow said the situation was “very worrying” as the water quality at Sungai Pinang, Sungai Jawi and Sungai Juru is still between Class III and Class IV. Class I is the best rating.

“The other rivers in the state have not shown improvement in terms of water quality including Sungai Rambai which is at Class III, ” he said at the state-level World Water Day 2021 celebration at Sungai Rambai in Bukit Mertajam on Saturday.

Some 150 people took part in a gotong-royong programme at Sungai Rambai in conjunction with the celebration.

They included students, representatives from non-governmental organisations, village community and management councils, women and family development committee, Seberang Prai City Council and several government departments such as Department of Environment and the central Seberang Prai district and land office.

Chow hoped that through the gotong-royong programme, Sungai Rambai would be turned into a cleaner and more suitable place for recreational activities.

“The state is always taking proactive measures together with departments and agencies to address water quality and environmental problems.

“We have carried out river deepening, construction of crusher-run roads to be used as river trails and also river corridor cleaning.

“The theme for World Water Day this year is ‘Valuing Water’ and I call on all stakeholders to pay attention and take continuous action to ensure sustainable management of the country’s water resources, ” he said.

Meanwhile, Penang Drainage and Irrigation Department director Shukri Muslim said Sungai Rambai and Sungai Juru, both totalling 13km long, have a potential yield of 167 million litres per day (MLD).

“Based on our rough calculation, the water will be sufficient for over 300,000 people.

“The public has to take care of the water outlets to Sungai Rambai to ensure the water quality. “The water at Sungai Rambai is between Class III and Class IV now.

“It can only be an alternative water supply when it reaches Class I or Class II.

“On top of that, the water needs to be treated before it is safe for consumption, ” he said.

He added that Sungai Rambai is the only water catchment site in Penang.

Also present at the gotong-royong were state executive councillors Zairil Khir Johari and Chong Eng, Bukit Mertajam MP Steven Sim, Machang Bubok assemblyman Lee Khai Loon, Penang Water Supply Corporation chief executive officer Datuk Jaseni Maidinsa and council mayor Datuk Rozali Mohamud.

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