The death of thousands of fish and discoloured “foul smelling” water in the Melaka River that bothered its visitors since May 19 was not caused by pollution, an official has said.
In a press conference on Tuesday (May 21), the chairman of the State Housing, Local Government and Environment Committee Datuk Tey Kok Kiew said that Sungai Melaka did not turn black from sewage or industrial waste, The Star reported.
Citing a preliminary report by the Department of Environment (DOE), Tey said that ocean currents had turned the river brackish.
Tey also said that only the tilapia species of fish were affected, Bernama reported.
Bernama quoted him as saying: “If there was really a pollution, the dead fish should be seen near the spot where the effluent was discharged and all aquatic life will be affected, not just certain fish.”
“The dead fish could only be found seven kilometres from the river estuary to Melaka Sentral and not other areas,” he added.
When dry weather caused the water to stagnate, flushing works by the drainage and irrigation department at the Batu Hampar barrage gate caused sediments from the riverbed to turn certain stretches of the river black, The Star reported Tey as saying.
Previously, the State Health and Anti-drug Committee chairman Low Chee Leong said on Monday (May 20) that there was pollution detected from the Batu Hampar Dam, Bernama reported.
According to Bernama, the dam was shut down immediately to prevent the situation getting worse, and the DOE and health department were tasked to take immediate action.
“We worry that the pollution will get worse and do not want a repeat of the chemical pollution in Sungai Kim Kim, Pasir Gudang, Johor,” Bernama quoted Low as saying.
At the press conference, Tey said that DOE had already conducted checks at three sewage treatment plants along Sungai Melaka as well as 26 other industrial sites.
The cleaning process of the river would still be completed by the relevant authorities and tourism activities along Sungai Melaka would continue as per normal, Tey added.
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