LUMUT: Villagers from Kampung Sungai Gelam near here claim nearby poultry farms are contaminating the water supply for their oil palm plantations.
Villager Zabidi Said, 63, said runoff from poultry farms located close to their plantation, was being channelled into a trench, which is the plantations' source of water.
"This is affecting at least 500ha of plantations belonging to the villagers," he told reporters at Kampung Sungai Gelam here on June 29.
Zabidi claimed that the dark and foul-smelling water was also causing allergic reactions.
"I touched the water before, and it left me with skin irritation.
He also said he had been forced to take clean water from his home to the plantation at least three times a day.
"We are forced to use our own water supply for the trees and this costs us a lot of money," he said, adding that the number of flies had also increased.
Retiree Pazaer Senawi, 65, said he had to spend more than RM150 a month on fly repellents.
"Sometimes the smell is so strong I cannot eat. If it's not the smell, I have to deal with the flies. It's a never-ending problem for us," he said.
He added that the water was also contaminating fishing areas.
"We used to have several types of fish here like stingray and sea bass. But now, we have to boat out to cleaner areas to fish," he said.
Sahabat Alam Malaysia (SAM) field officer Meor Razak Meor Abdul Rahman said state government needed to take drastic action against the polluters as it was under their jurisdiction.
"This issue involves at least three different portfolios. We urge the Perak government to take charge and solve the matter before it becomes worse," he said, adding that they would be sending a letter to the Environment Department over the matter.