The pollution of these two rivers for the past 10 years has caused the water of both the rivers to become black and muddy. The rivers are not only an eyesore and revolting, but also emit a nauseating stench.
The pollution problem arises from the discharge of waste from industrial plants, residential area, business premises, workshops, animal waste and human excrement. Subsequently, downstream of both these rivers are likely dead without any living being in it.
CAP’s survey found the river water to be greasy and its surface filled with garbage and other waste that had settled. CAP was surprised to find that people living near the Keluang River jetty had built toilets and defecate into the river.
CAP is concerned that if the problem is not addressed now, the pollution of the rivers will worsen in the future and may affect public health and threaten marine life in the nearby sea.
CAP also urges the Department of Environment (DOE) and the Health Department to investigate this pollution and conduct frequent monitoring visits to ensure that manufacturers comply with the Environmental Quality Act 1974 and its regulations and that the public do not dump rubbish and excrement into the river.
CAP is appalled by this incident and hopes that the state government, local authorities, departments, and agencies play a more effective role, including enforcing the relevant laws to ascertain that the rivers in the state are pollution-free.
SM MOHAMED IDRIS is president, Consumers Association of Penang (CAP).