LENGGONG: The Mineral and Geoscience Department (JMG) and the National Water Services Commission will conduct a detailed study to identify the sources of pollution in Sungai Rui in Gerik, Perak.
Water, Land and Natural Resources Minister Dr Xavier Jayakumar said the JMG had set up a task force to find solutions to the water pollution in the river by regularly sampling water at several predetermined locations.
He said the JMG would provide location and mapping data on mining, logging, agriculture and industrial activities as well as Perak Water Board water treatment plants (LRA) and JMG’s water wells in Hulu Perak.
“The results will be known at least a week after the completion of the study and we do not want to point fingers at one only party without identifying in detail the causes of the pollution,” he said after visiting a eucalyptus farm with Peninsular Malaysia Forestry director-general Datuk Nor Akhirrudin Mahmud and several foreign envoys in Bukit Sapi here yesterday.
Dr Xavier said the river was a raw water source for the Air Ganda LRA which supplied water to 1,000 villagers with a capacity of 0.68 million litres per day.
He said in general, Klian Intan, Hulu Perak, was identified as an area rich in minerals and any mining or land clearing activities could lead to a natural acidic reaction, which in turn releases heavy metals such as arsenic, iron, lead, zinc and nickel into the water.
Last Thursday, Perak Education, Technology, Science and Environmental committee chairman Dr Abdul Aziz Bari said based on recent tests by the JMG, the river was believed to have high arsenic content.
During his visit, Dr Xavier said the Forest Farm Development Programme was looking at the potential of planting eucalyptus trees.
He said the short yield of eucalyptus trees, between seven and eight years, made it a good investment opportunity.
“We will do a study on the cultivation of eucalyptus trees ... It could become a future source of income for the country, thus reducing our dependence on oil palm,” he said. — Bernama