River pollution traced to pond in duck farm

A PIG farm in Seberang Prai was unfairly blamed for polluting two rivers when checks showed that the discharge came from a pond in a nearby duck farm, says a Penang exco member.

Agrotechnology committee chairman Fahmi Zainol said investigation by agencies found that the discharge flowed from the duck farm into Sungai Alor Merah and subsequently to Sungai Kulim.

“The news which went viral recently saying the pollution was caused by the pig farm was not accurate,’ he said after an inspection of the two farms at Sungai Lembu in Bukit Mertajam.

He said the pig farm, which was operating without a licence, had complied with regulations, discharging waste only into its designated treatment pond.

Fahmi assured Penangites that the pollution did not affect the Bukit Toh Allang water treatment plant in Sungai Kulim. The plant supplies water to Penang and is 7km from where Sungai Alor Merah and Sungai Kulim merge.

He said the duck farm had been operating for 15 years and was unlicensed as the licensing process for poultry farms in Penang under the Poultry Farming Enactment began only on Jan 1 this year.

On action to be taken against the duck farm operator, state Veterinary Services Department (DVS) director Dr Saira Banu Mohamed Rejab said for now, the operator could only be fined by Seberang Prai City Council (MBSP).

“However, once licences are issued to poultry farms in the state, we can take stern action if they do not comply with stipulated regulations,” she said.

She added the department would visit the farm from time to time to advise them.

As for the pig farm, the operator has until the end of March to comply with the requirements for a licence to operate.

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