PADANG BESAR: The Perlis Department of Environment (DOE) has directed a factory to cease operations after Sungai Ngulang was found to be polluted, as evident from the hundreds of dead fish floating in the river recently.
Perlis DOE director Mohamad Fitri Said said an investigation paper has been opened for further action.
He urged industries to always comply with the control measures prescribed under the Environmental Quality Act 1974 to safeguard the sustainability of the environment and rivers in the state.
"We have taken action to stop the operations of the factory near the area," he said when asked to comment on the pollution in Sungai Ngulang.
He said action could be taken against anyone who breached the Environmental Quality Act 1974, which provides for a maximum fine of RM100,000 and up to five years’ jail on conviction.
Malaysia Nature Society (MNS) president Professor Dr Ahmad Ismail said pollution in the river was a recurring incident, reportedly due to effluents discharged from nearby industrial areas.
Ahmad said the DOE, the Drainage and Irrigation Department (DID), local authorities and the community should take the necessary action to ensure the Water Quality Index (WQI) of rivers remains in the first-class category.
"We are not against the operations of factories but the parties involved should comply with the criteria set by the authorities so that the discharge of effluents is better controlled to preserve rivers in the state,” he said.
Based on DOE criteria, water from rivers with first-class WQI is safe for drinking, requires only minimum treatment and is a suitable habitat for aquatic life.
A food stall trader in Kampung Ngulang here, Norma Said, 60, said she hoped the problem of river pollution can be resolved immediately because the area is popular for fishing.
"When the river is polluted, the water turns black and not clear as usual," she said. - Bernama