Of dirty seas and jellyfish

PENANG: Clear the sea of rubbish or expect more jellyfish to lurk in the waters off our beaches. 

Association of Tourism Attrac-tions Penang (ATAP) chairman Eddy Low said jellyfish normally thrived in polluted seas. 

“The authorities will have to minimise pollution in the sea if they are serious in keeping jellyfish away,” he said. 

He blamed the abundance of jellyfish to pollution. Low suggested that the state engage inshore fishermen to trawl rubbish as well as jellyfish from the sea. 

“Such efforts could even be turned into a n activity for tourists.  

“They can be invited to help draw in the net from the shore with the bountiful harvest of jellyfish and rubbish,” he said. 

Low was commenting on a species of the deadly box jellyfish family found lurking in the waters off several popular beaches in the country. 

The jellyfish had been spotted in Tanjung Bungah and Pantai Keracut here, in Langkawi and in Sabah and Sarawak.  

The sting of this invertebrate can kill a child within a few minutes. 

Low said the authorities should put up signboards with messages to warn tourists of the dangerous species. 

“Lifeguard posts on beaches should also be well equipped with the necessary medication to render immediate attention to swimmers stung by jellyfish,” he said. 

He appealed to the state to stop allowing hawker centres to be set up by the beach to prevent further pollution. 

When contacted, State Tourism Development and Environment Committee chairman Teng Chang Yeow said they were aware of the jellyfish problem from the feedback received from local and foreign tourist agencies. 

Teng said the state had directed State Secretary Datuk Jamaludin Hassan to hold meetings with the relevant departments, including the local authorities, fisheries departments and national park authorities to find ways to reduce the jellyfish habitat in Penang waters. 

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