KUANTAN: It has been a challenging week for the villagers of Kuala Kenau and the surrounding areas in Sungai Lembing near here.
About 100 of them have seen their water source polluted, turning brown and muddy.
Mohd Nawi Mat Arif, 48, who has lived in the village since he was born, said the dirty water had caused them much difficulty.
“Sometimes we have no choice but to use the brown water to wash clothes. If the shirt is white, it will turn brown,” said Nawi.
“Occasionally, some of us have no choice but to find a way to cook.”
Wan Suhaili Wan Kamaruzaman, 34, said she had to send her youngest child to the clinic for itchiness after bathing with the water.
“The doctor gave him antibiotics and an ointment. He is getting better,” said Wan Suhaili.
“Some of us have a treated water supply but it is expensive and it is not switched on 24/7, so we still use water from the catchment area.”
The villagers are blaming logging activities around the water catchment area at Bukit Segantang as the source of the pollution.
Wan Mohd Rasidi Wan Mohd Alih, 51, said the water catchment area had supplied water to their houses for decades.
“When a company started logging near the water catchment area last week, our water turned into teh tarik,” Rasidi said.
“When there is heavy rain, the water would turn muddy and villagers would have to walk 40 minutes up the hill to get clean water,” he told reporters yesterday.
After the villagers took reporters to the logging site and the water catchment area, Sintanmas Timber director Datuk M.K. Tan came to the village to meet the press.
He claimed the firm did not fell trees around the water catchment area, adding it had the necessary permits, including the Environmental Impact Report for logging.
“We didn’t log trees near the water catchment area and stopped once we came near it,” said Tan.
“It is hard to say who is at fault with regards to the pollution, but for now we will stop logging to investigate the matter.”
Sungai Lembing state assemblyman Datuk Md Sohaimi Mohamed Shah, when contacted, said he was surprised to hear of the case, explaining that he had reminded the Forestry Department since 2014 not to allow logging activities near water catchment areas.
“These places are very important for the villagers.
“I will try make a visit to Kampung Kuala Kenau and maybe bring Forestry Department officials together to solve this issue,” he said.
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