Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Dead fish float on the once pristine Sungai Dura

June 16, 2009

KUALA TERENGGANU: Sungai Dura, a source of water for 800 villagers from Kampung Pueh, was contaminated by palm oil effluent a few days ago and is in danger of dying.

Dead fish and prawns are floating on the once crystal-clear waters now covered with a coat of sticky substance.

A sickening stench is pervasive.

Terengganu’s Department of Environment (DOE) director Rusli Che Husin said the river was polluted after a direct flow of effluent from the palm oil plant’s pipeline into the river in Hulu Terengganu, about 87km from here.

“We have sent a team of officers to monitor the water quality daily and send back the reports to the department here,” he said when contacted by The Star, Tuesday.

He said the situation was not critical but the water quality could deteriorate if the river was not urgently rehabilitated.

“We are doing our best to save the river as the leakage was considered unintentional as the plant was undergoing restoration work when the incident occurred a few days ago,” he said.

The department had questioned the mill’s owner and was investigating to see if punitive action needed to be taken against the polluter.

Kampung Pueh villager Azman Che Jusoh, 33, from said villagers had no choice but to turn to artesian wells for water.

“We hope the authorities do something about reviving the river before it is totally dead, he said.

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