KOTA KINABALU: Hundreds of dead fish were seen along the Segaliud River in Batu Sapi in Sandakan on Sunday, causing a foul stench to linger in the area.
Segaliud River, like the Kinabatangan River nearby, is a source of water supply to Sandakan and its surrounding areas.
It is believed that effluent discharged by plantation mills in the area polluted the river and caused this.
Villagers there claim that the river water quality has declined seriously which could impact the supply to Sandakan and Batu Sapi.
Batu Sapi MP Datuk Liew Vui Keong was in the area to see the situation for himself after receiving complaints from villagers.
"I could smell the stench from the dead fish along the river when I got there. It appears they have been dead for at least three days," he said in a statement.
He said villagers who live along the river say its waters are heavily polluted with pesticides, fertiliser and from plantations, plus waste effluent from palm oil mills as well as sediment from logging.
Liew said a police report had been lodged by the village head who claimed that there are five mills nearby which were discharging effluent into the river.
He also said that this was a recurring incident, which continued even after some of the owners had previously been fined by the courts.
Liew said he will take the matter up to the Agriculture and Food Industries as well as the Health and Well-being ministries for further action.
"We will also consider taking legal action against the offenders," he said.