IPOH: The Perak government has set up a special task force to handle pollution in Sungai Rui.
State Drainage and Irrigation Department (JPS) director Datuk Dr Ahmad Anuar Othman said the task force comprised several state departments, including JPS.
“Perak Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Ahmad Faizal Azumu had set up a task force to handle the problem.
"JPS is working together with several other departments such as the Mineral and Geosciences Department, the Water Board (LAP) and the Health Department.
“All departments are working hand-in-hand to resolve the problem at Sungai Rui. Action will be taken in accordance with the agreed methods,” Ahmad Anuar said when contacted Friday (April 5).
He added that JPS has been monitoring all river conditions in Perak.
“Previously, we had not received any reports regarding river pollution,” he added.
On Thursday (April 4), low-levels of arsenic were found in water samples taken from Sungai Rui in Hulu Perak.
The Perak Health Department had earlier received several reports that some nearby villagers had developed skin cancer, believed to be caused by the water.
When contacted, Perak Water Board manager Datuk Mohd Yusu Mohd Isa confirmed the task force but refused to comment on further details.
Meanwhile, Pertubuhan Pelindung Khazanah Alam (Peka) president Puan Sri Shariffa Sabrina Syed said that there should not be any development along the river buffer zone.
“The authorities must stop any mining activities found along the river or any tributary nearby.
"Mining licences and those for factories that produce chemicals should be strictly reviewed.
“The government needs to prioritise the environment. If it did, this kind of problem would never surface.
"Is the mining tax they collected worth the amount of destruction it caused?” she said.