GEORGE TOWN: The discharge of raw sewage into the Batu Ferringhi River has allegedly contributed to marine pollution which is threatening the livelihood of 600 coastal fishermen.
Consumers Association of Penang (CAP) said the river which flows into Teluk Bahang sea has been polluted over the last three months and fishermen have stopped going out to sea because their main catch of fish and prawns has dropped drastically.
“Fishermen earning RM200 per day in the past can now get only RM30 to RM40,” said CAP president S.M. Mohamed Idris.
“They decided to stop fishing as their meagre income was insufficient even to cover repair to their damaged nets,” he added.
Mohamed Idris added that the water in Batu Ferringhi River was not only black and oily, but also silty and stinky.
“Fish like pomfret and threadfin have dwindled while other types of fish such as gelama, tengkerong, grouper and snapper have been found dead due to the pollution.”
CAP urged the Penang City Council (MBPP), the Department of Irrigation and Drainage (DID) and the Department of Environment (DOE) to take immediate action to address this problem.
Meanwhile, Indah Water Konsortium Sdn Bhd (IWK) which is operating a plant at Sungai Batu Ferringhi said it was working closely with the DOE to monitor the quality of effluent discharge from its plant.
Its senior manager (corporate communications) Shahrul Nizam Sulaiman said the plant would be much more effective when upgrading works are completed next year.
“However, other sources could have contributed to the pollution at Batu Ferringhi such as food stalls, car wash, individual septic tanks and other activities,” said Shahrul.
He added that IWK would be working closely with the other authorities on river water quality modelling to identify the sources of pollutants.