KUANTAN: It is best not to consume seafood obtained from bauxite-contaminated waters off Pahang.
State Fisheries Department director Adnan Hussain said water samples had been taken from the affected areas for laboratory analyses to determine the safety of the marine products.
“The results of the tests are expected to be known within two weeks. Meanwhile, we advise the public not to eat molluscs (from these areas),” he said.
He also advised against fishing activities in these areas due to the current high level of turbidity.
He said previous tests conducted by the department on the mineral content, following the murky shade of red in the rivers and sea, found that the level was not high.
Meanwhile, Pahang Department of Environment deputy director Zainal Abidin Abdullah said the red water in the rivers and sea was due to land-clearing activities leading to water run-off after the recent heavy rains.
He said the situation worsened when the surface water flow was contaminated with bauxite which had spilled on the roads while being transported.
“The increased water flow during the heavy rains also caused silting in the rivers, mixed with bauxite from the water run-off.
“All these elements then flowed into the river before ending up in the sea and the large quantity caused the red river and sea phenomenon,” he said, adding that the situation would return to normal soon.
Meanwhile, state public utilities and environment committee chairman Datuk Seri Mohd Soffi Abd Razak said the state government had taken samples from rivers affected by the phenomenon to identify the causes.
He said the investigations involving various agencies were being conducted to ensure the phenomenon did not recur in the future as Sungai Balok and Pantai Batu Hitam were not just tourist attractions but also provided revenue to the local fishermen.
“We have to carry out our investigations. For instance, Sungai Balok affects a large area and there are development and mining activities near the river.
“It is better to determine the cause so that action can be taken.
“The results of the investigation will be tabled at the state exco meeting,” he said after visiting the Sungai Balok fisherman’s jetty yesterday. — Bernama
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