Veterinary Dept looking into cause of river pollution

SEREMBAN: The Veterinary Services Department is investigating whether illegal pig and frog farming activities are polluting a river in Port Dickson’s Site C New Village. It is learnt that pig farming was still being carried out in the area although it was banned following the outbreak of the Nipah virus about 20 years ago.

State Department of Environment (DoE) officers started the probe after getting complaints from residents on March 31, said Negri Sembilan Health, Environment, Cooperatives and Consumerism Committee chairman S. Veerapan (pic).

“The residents thought that the oily river surface were due to effluents discharged from a premises where 24,183 barrels containing maintenance work waste of a refinery located nearby had been stored.

“However preliminary investigations revealed there was no oily substance in the river,” he said, adding that the samples have been sent to the Chemistry Department for testing.

“The DoE team decided to conduct more checks along the river and they then found what is believed to be animal fats and other oily waste. These were probably from pig slaughtering and frog farming activities,” he said adding that the Veterinary Services Department was now handling the matter.

State DoE director Norhazni Mat Sari had recently confirmed the presence of E.coli in the river caused by animal farms upstream.

She told The Star that the presence of algal bloom in the water was a sign of nutrients coming from animal waste.

Fishermen along the Negri Sembilan-Selangor border had also complained of dwindling catch caused by the river pollution and lashed out at the authorities for their inaction.

Separately, Veerapan said the authorities also found ink waste and other unidentified scheduled waste after receiving a report of open burning activities at a transport yard in Kg Kebun Jimah in Port Dickson on April 17.

He said a DoE team found the ink waste in 89 tanks and 18 bags.

“They also found unidentified substances stored in 12 tanks and three jumbo bags in a lorry parked at the yard.

“We feel that the containers had been deliberately painted in red to prevent the authorities from knowing what its contents were,” he said adding that the authorities were also investigating what was burnt at the premises.

Veerapan said the DoE then issued an order to the management to clean up the yard within five days and that all other activities at the premises be stopped.

Checks were also conducted at several premises here, Melaka and Selangor where the waste was believed to have originated from.

He said an investigation paper has been opened under the Environment Quality Act 1974.