Penang government and relevant authorities should take serious effective measures to overcome pollution caused by domestic sewage and waste from shrimp farms that were increasingly spreading in Kuala Sungai Pinang, Balik Pulau.
Sahabat Alam Malaysia (SAM) president, S.M. Mohamed Idris said the pollution had threatened marine life and the livelihood of about 2,000 fishermen in Kuala Sungai Pinang, Pantai Acheh, Kuala Sungai Burung and Pulau Betong.
He said in a statement today that the pollution, which had persisted for more than ten years, involved the drainage system, the coastal area and the sea.
“Our survey found that the ditches here were sedimented with sludge and debris from residential areas and aquaculture ponds. The water in the ditch was black and frothy.
“There are several drains and dozens of channels in the area where waste was being discharged into the water bodies and then flows directly into the sea, causing the waters off Balik Pulau contaminated,” he said.
Despite numerous complaints lodged by the Consumers Association of Penang (CAP) and the affected fishermen to the state government, including the Penang Island City Council, until now no effective action had been taken.
“We believe that if the source of pollution was not taken seriously and allowed to continue, not only the environment will be destroyed, but the fishermen in Penang and future generation of fishers will also extinct,” warned Idris.
He pointed out that in addition to weak enforcement by the local authority, relevant departments and agencies in their efforts to curb pollution, SAM was also concerned about mangrove forests in the state.
SAM requested the fisheries department to conduct a specific study on the effects of pollution from aquaculture ponds on fisheries in Balik Pulau and disclose the findings to the public.