Chemical shortage will pose disruption to operation of water treatment plants, says water association


PETALING JAYA: The potential issue of chemical shortage due to the implementation of lockdown restrictions on factory operations need to be addressed so that they do not affect plant operations, says the Malaysian Water Association (MWA).

Its president Dr Mohmad Asari Daud (pic) said it is envisaged that the lack of supply of chemicals will pose disruption to the operation of water treatment plants nationwide if the demand for such materials could not be met.

He said it would also have an impact on the production of potable water for domestic, commercial and industrial needs.

"We would like to voice the grievances of the water industry affected by the movement control order which has been implemented and seeks the government's consideration to allow full operation of related industries in the water industry supply chain such as chemical suppliers and factories supplying equipment and raw materials for infrastructure construction related to supplying water to consumers.

"This includes workshops that need to be operational to ensure that the maintenance of equipment and machinery used in the industry can be supported and does not experience delay in repair and maintenance.

"Without the services mentioned, water supply, which is categorised as an essential service, may face problems to provide continuous service," he said in a statement Saturday (July 24).

He also highlighted the issue of water supply disruption due to the pollution of water resources in Ulu Keratong, Pahang saying that the association was gravely concerned as this affected various daily activities of the community, especially at the time when the country is facing the Covid-19 pandemic.

This had also affected consumers from the industrial and commercial sectors which are already experiencing restrictions to operations and may have incurred significant losses to the company's operations, he said.

"The latest case that occurred in Ulu Keratong is very shocking because this pollution had not only occurred in developed and industrial areas such as Selangor and Johor but it can also happen in rural areas such as Ulu Keratong," he said.

Mohmad Asari said they supported the Environment and Water Ministry’s intention to impose stricter action and heavier penalties for offenses of polluting water and the environment.

Minister Datuk Seri Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man had previously announced the Environmental Quality Act 1974 will be amended to increase the fine to RM15mil for those found guilty of committing scheduled waste pollution and also impose mandatory imprisonment.

Mohmad Asari said it was time for all stakeholders in the water industry to step up their concerted efforts to ensure that such incidents do not recur in the future.

"In addition to stricter laws and regulations, enforcement and punishment imposed should be able to be a deterrent to these irresponsible polluters.

"Punishment that is light and insignificant enables these incidents to keep recurring.

"Joint efforts by the community and all stakeholders should be synergised towards protecting our environment and preventing pollution of water resources, thus reducing water supply disruptions," said Mohmad Asari.

He also called for water and sewerage service operators to be given priority in obtaining vaccines as most of the industry's frontliners are exposed to the public when on duty.

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Keywords: Water, Malaysian Water Association, MWA, water treatment plants, chemical shortage, Mohmad Asari Daud, Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man

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