SAHABAT Alam Malaysia (SAM) is concerned about the recent arsenic pollution in Sungai Rui in Gerik, Perak, as not only is it affecting the water quality and the marine ecosystem but the lives of humans are also in danger if the problem is not addressed immediately.
Thus, SAM urges the Perak government, Department of Environment, Department of Irrigation and Drainage, and the local authority to conduct continuous monitoring and ensure that the mining operation which is believed to be the cause of the pollution no longer carries out unlawful activities.
SAM regrets that even though Sungai Rui has been polluted for more than 30 years, no adequate action has been taken by the parties involved so far.
SAM believes that if the condition persists, there will be threats and adverse effects resembling the disaster that hit Sungai Kim Kim in Johor.
SAM was made aware by the residents involved that they had used water from Sungai Rui previously for household activities.
Once the pollution got worse, not only did the residents develop skin diseases but marine life such as shrimp and fish was also threatened. Agricultural activities were also affected.
SAM hopes that this issue is given serious attention by the state government because if it is left unattended, there will be more serious repercussions that will affect the environment and the lives of people living near the river.
In addition to enforcing the law strictly, severe penalties should be imposed on those found guilty of violating the rules set forth under the relevant act.
SAM hopes that a monitoring committee for Sungai Rui will be set up soon to ensure that no one is arbitrarily polluting its waters.
SAM requests for the latest information from any investigation and test reports on water samples from Sungai Rui to be made public from time to time to keep residents informed.
SAM will also follow up on this issue with the cooperation of the residents.
S.M. MOHAMED IDRIS
Sahabat Alam Malaysia (SAM)