Sahabat Alam Malaysia (SAM) urged the Pahang government to stop logging and mining activities to curb the worsening river pollution of Sungai Pahang, Tasik Chini and Tasik Mentiga in the district of Pekan.
In a statement today, SAM president S.M. Mohamed Idris said that the Pahang government and relevant departments should take immediate action to address the threat and to make public the measures that would be taken to resolve the problem.
“The problem that has persisted for more than 20 years does not only affect the water catchment and water supply for more than 10,000 Felda Chini settlers and communities but also the livelihood of the Orang Asli communities in the district.
“We are upset and concerned that the long-standing problem which has been threatening the environment and the livelihood of the local communities here has yet to be resolved due to lack of effective action taken by the authorities,” said Mohamed Idris.
He pointed out that if this situation was left unchecked, worse incidents such as flash floods and prolonged drought may hit the area, and the state in the future.
“Our field survey here found that the water in the river and the lake was muddy and silty, endangering aquatic life, aquatic plants and weed to die.
“Subsequently some species of fish that is a source of income for local people here especially the Orang Asli community in five villages in the area are threatened and nearly extinct,” he said.
Mohamed Idris said that the villagers’ source of income from forest produce has also declined due to logging and mining activities in the surrounding forests.
Among the affected villages are Kampung Gumum, Kampung Melai, Kampung Tanjung Puput, Kampung Chenahan and Kampung Ulu Gumum.
“Other contributing sources was the construction of a weir that blocks the flow of water between Tasik Chini and the Sungai Pahang, to the detriment of the ecosystem of the lake,” he said.
Disposal of effluents from palm oil mills has also caused the death of varieties of plant species in Tasik Mentiga, he added.
“The sedimentation of residual sludge and dead plants are significant in causing the Sungai Pahang, Tasik Chini and Tasik Mentiga to become shallow.
“This condition will cause the river water to overflow during rain and both lakes will fail to accommodate the flow of water or surface runoff from forests that have been cleared,” said Mohamed Idris.