Malaysia: Action pledged on river pollution in Penang

Scores of fish such as keli, haruan and Tilapia found dead along Sungai Dondang.
26th June 2015;

The Penang Government has directed the island city council (MBPP) to take stern action, including revoking the licences, of a vegetarian food processing factory and a laundry shop for allegedly causing the death of fish in Sungai Dondang, Paya Terubong.

On Monday scores of fish such as keli (Catfish) (Siluriformes), haruan (Common Snakehead) (Channa striata) and Tilapia (Oreochromis sp.) were found dead along Sungai Dondang, a tributary of Sungai Pinang. The Department of Environment (DOE) has taken samples of the river water for tests and the results will be known in a week.

State executive councilor Chow Kon Yeow said investigations by DOE, the Drainage and Irrigation Department (DID) and MBPP revealed that the two errant parties caused the river pollution.

He assured the outlets would face the full brunt of the law, including possible closure and fine. “The city council has been directed to take stern action against the culprits, including revoking their licenses,” Chow told newsmen when visiting the site.

Present were DID director Anuar Yahya, northeast district engineer Haslinda Mohd Hamran and DOE state director Norhayati Yahaya.

He expressed disappointment that such incidents took place despite various campaigns carried out to educate people against disposing toxic waste into rivers. The responsibility to keep rivers clean and pollution free was not only that of the authorities, but also the public, he added.

He felt sad that marine life had died and urged the public to take on the responsibility to ensure that rivers remained clean. Moreover, he said, the state received encouraging reports that the river water quality was improving.

Source: Free Malaysia Today

Malaysia: Action pledged on river pollution in Penang

Penang Local Government committee chairman Chow Kon Yeow shows the dead fishes found at a river’s basin in Air Itam. Photo by AMIR IRSYAD OMAR

Malaysia: Swift action to combat river pollution in Penang
By Predeep Nambiar, 26th June 2015;

The recent discovery of dead fishes at a river basin here could have been caused by illegal discharge from nearby businesses, authorities say.

Local Government committee chairman Chow Kon Yeow said initial investigations showed the two outlets; a vegetarian food processing outfit and a laundromat could be the culprit.

“This clearly shows the mentality of some businesses who continue to pollute our rivers.”

“I have ordered the Penang Island City Council (MBPP) to order these businesses to be closed if they are found to be the culprits,” he said at a press conference yesterday.

Chow led a visit to one of three floodwater basins of the river, with officials from the state Environment Department and Drainage and Irrigation Department in tow.

On Monday, residents near the upstream of Sungai Dondang here discovered at least 100 dead fishes washed ashore.

The finding at one of the basins prompted an investigation by the Environment Department, with samples collected on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, state Environment director Norhayati Yahya said the condition of the two other basins were good, with no dead fishes found there.

“Basins A and C recorded normal pH levels of 6. Our concern is Basin B where the dead fishes were found.”

“We have sent the samples to the Chemistry Department for analysis and we expect the results to be out in two weeks.” she said.

River quality is usually determined by its pH level, nitrate and phosphate contents and dissolved oxygen values, via chemical tests.

As a long-term solution, Chow announced that village security and development committees will ‘adopt’ parts of the river to keep polluters at bay.

“The people can be the eyes and ears of our rivers as we have limited resources,” he said.

State Drainage and Irrigation director Anuar Yahya urged the public to report polluters at 04-650-5145.

Sungai Dondang is one of the six tributaries of infamous Sungai Pinang, which was once the dirtiest rivers in Malaysia.

The other tributaries are Sungai Air Terjun, Sungai Kecil, Sungai Air Putih, Sungai Air Hitam, and Sungai Jelutong

In 2006, Sungai Pinang was ranked Class V, the highest pollution level under the Malaysia Water Quality Index.

Last year, the river’s cleanliness improved, hovering between Class II and III.

Source: New Straits Times

The dead fishes in the photo are Sailfin Catfishes (Pterygoplichthys sp.), which are originally from South America.

Resident nearby the polluted Sungai Dondang, Goh Kheng Tian, 45, points out the dead fishes washed ashore while Penang Local Government, Traffic and Flood Mitigation committee chairman Chow Kon Yeow looks on. Photo by Masry Che Ani

Malaysia: Fishy deaths alert residents of river pollution
By Edmund Lee, 25th June 2015;

The source of pollution of Sungai Dondang in Paya Terubong here has been narrowed to two outlets, a vegetarian food processing outfit and a laundromat.

The investigation comes after residents nearby reported scores of dead fish near the river banks over the past few days.

Penang local government committee chairman Chow Kon Yeow said there will be no compromise in taking action against businesses polluting the river which is a tributary of Sungai Pinang.

He said the Penang Island Municipal Council was taking the matter seriously and will act accordingly against those responsible for discharging pollutants into the river.

He felt sad marine life had died and urged the public to take on the responsibility to ensure rivers remained clean.

He called on village development and security committees to keep watch on polluters.

“They can help us stop pollution,” he told a press conference after a visit to the river today.

The Penang Drainage and Irrigation Department has taken river water samples for testing with the results to be known in about two weeks.

The fish deaths came after Chow celebrated the presence of otters at Sungai Pinang on his Facebook page recently.

Source: The Sun Daily

The dead fishes in the photo are Sailfin Catfishes (Pterygoplichthys sp.), which are originally from South America.

Malaysia: Hundreds of fish dead in Sungai Pinang

By Looi Sue-Chern, 25th June 2015;

The Penang government and environmental authorities are investigating why hundreds of fish in Sungai Dondang, Paya Terubong, Penang, turned up dead earlier this week.

State local government exco Chow Kon Yeow said Penang Island City Council (MBPP) will take stern action against the party found to be responsible for the river pollution that killed some five different types of fresh water fish, including haruan (Common Snakehead) (Channa striata), eel (Swamp Eel)(?) (Monopterus javanensis) and catfish (Siluriformes).

He said there was no proof yet but the council had found three premises, which only one had permit, that could have caused the pollution.

“The council had previously issued notices to the premises, which were discharging effluent into the river but we haven’t determined whether they are the culprits yet because the state environmental department is still investigating the cause,” he said.

“When we find out who did this, MBPP will take stern action, such as shutting down the business or revoking the license.”

“We are really saddened by this incident.”

“It was only last week that we felt encouraged by the sightings of otters in Sungai Pinang.”

“It was a sign that the water quality of the river had improved,” he told reporters during a site visit in Paya Terubong.

Chow said it only showed that the level of awareness among the public and business operators was still lacking and the authorities would have to step up on its engineering, enforcement and education initiatives to prevent this from happening again.

He also said the authorities were in the process of identifying all buildings on the banks of Sungai Pinang, and the exercise would be extended to its tributaries as well.

“We also have limited resources, so our current focus on promoting behavioural change and positive transformation is on the river basin catchment areas of Batu Ferringhi and Sungai Pinang,” he said.

Sungai Dondang is one of the tributaries of Sungai Pinang, one of the main rivers on Penang Island.

The dead fish incident was reported to the authorities on Monday.

Northeast district drainage and irrigation department (DID) engineer Haslinda Mohd Hamran said the department investigated and found that the areas affected were in parts of Sungai Dondang, Sungai Air Itam and Sungai Pinang.

She said samples had been taken and sent for testing to find out what caused the fish to die.

State environmental department director Nor Hayati Yahaya said environment officers also checked the pH level of the water and found it normal.

“But we are still waiting for the chemical department report on the samples we took from the river, so we can find out whether the pollution was caused by nearby industries.”

“Industrial activities could be the source but we also must bear in mind that when we took the samples on Tuesday, the effects of the pollution reported a day before might have been lost already.”

“There have been no new incidents since we got the complaint on Monday,” she said.

Hayati said the department also checked a nearby laundry business and a factory producing vegetarian food but did not find them discharging effluent into the river.

State DID director Anuar Yahya said there had been no similar cases reported on the island before and urged the public to help the authorities by keeping an eye on the rivers.

“We don’t have the capacity to monitor the rivers around the clock and we need the public to report to us whenever something happens,” he said.

Source: The Malaysian Insider

Malaysia: Hundreds of fish dead in Sungai Pinang

River of death: A resident taking a closer look at the fishes found dead in Sungai Dondang in Paya Terubong.

Malaysia: Fishy deaths probed
By Christopher Tan, 25th June 2015;

The death of hundreds of fishes in Sungai Dondang and Sungai Pinang has raised concerns about toxic chemicals being discharged into the Penang rivers.

State Drainage and Irrigation Department (DID) director Anuar Yahya said they went to collect the water samples from both rivers yesterday after being alerted by the public.

“The samples have been sent for analysis to determine the cause of pollution,” he said, adding that the water from Sungai Dondang flowed into Sungai Pinang.

It was reported that residents living in Paya Terubong near the Sungai Dondang had noticed the dead fishes floating in the river on Monday evening.

And just a few days ago, a family of 10 Smooth-coated Otters (Lutrogale perspicillata) had taken up residence along Sungai Pinang.

Local Government Committee chairman Chow Kon Yeow, who was elated with the development, had posted photographs of the mammals on his Facebook page.

Sungai Pinang was categorised in 2006 as one of the seven most polluted rivers in the country, earning a dubious Class Five ranking – the highest pollution level under Malaysia’s Water Quality Index.

Chow said Sungai Pinang pollution tests fluctuated between Class Two and Three levels last year.

Source: The Star

The dead fishes in the photo are mostly Sailfin Catfishes (Pterygoplichthys sp.), which are originally from South America.