KOTA KINABALU: The Sabah Department of Environment is trying to locate the source of pollution of Sungai Maunad in Sabah’s east coast Beluran district where some 7,500 residents have raised health concerns over water quality.
Its director, Ruslan Mohamad, said a thorough investigation to find the causes of pollution would be carried out before anyone is blamed.
He said it was too early to pinpoint the cause of pollution and the dead fish, which had appeared in the river, could have been caused by tubar (poison roots), which was commonly used in fishing.
“We have to investigate,” he stressed, adding that Sungai Maunad, like most of Sabah's rivers, had been classified as clean but slightly polluted.
He said that palm oil mills made quarterly reports to the department on their discharges.
Barisan Nasional-elected representatives have urged the department and the state Environmental Conservation Department to take action against polluters.
Beluran MP Ronald Kiandee and Labuk assemblyman Datuk Michael Asang have blamed palm oil mills and plantations for discharging toxic effluents into the river and want firm action by authorities.
They said that warnings were not sufficient and fears were raised when dead fish started floating on the river.
Water supplied by the Water Department had turned brackish and smelly.
Residents said they relied on rainwater as they feared the treated water was not safe for consumption.
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