PETALING JAYA: Tests have confirmed that the water sources near Kampung Kuala Koh are mostly free from pollution except for high levels of iron and manganese, says an expert.Water quality specialist Dr Zaki Zainudin said samples taken from the water sources near the Orang Asli settlement showed that the water was “relatively clean”.
However, he said, it should not be consumed without boiling due to the presence of coliform bacteria.
He noted that the amount of iron or manganese in some of the samples exceeded recommended levels.
“The amount of iron in the samples were close to or exceeded the Health Ministry’s recommended threshold of 0.3mg/L for drinking.
“The amount of manganese also exceeded the threshold of 0.1mg/L. Other metals remained low or undetected,” he said.
Dr Zaki said while iron and manganese were commonly found in soil, the presence of these substances in water sources could be exacerbated by human activities.
“Due to land-water interactions, both substances also find their way naturally into surface water courses such as rivers and lakes.
“However, the transport of these substances may also be exacerbated by activities such as mining, land-
clearing and agriculture due to erosion,” he said.
The Bateq community in Kampung Kuala Koh came under the spotlight following the deaths of 15 tribe members since May.
Investigations attributed the cause to a measles outbreak, combined with a weak immune system and severe malnutrition.