A dead dolphin was found washed up in the midst of the polluted waters of Pantai Bersih in Bagan Ajam, Butterworth this evening – only weeks after many Penangites had rejoiced at the sighting of dolphins, with some even saying it was a good omen.

Photograph: Ch’ng Chong Chew

Ch’ng Cheong Chew was having dinner at 7.00pm at a seafood restaurant near Pantai Bersih when he spotted the dead creature.

Ch’ng said he had a close up view of the carcass. “It’s a dolphin all right; it must have been dead a few days elsewhere as it was bloated.”

Notice the MRCB project work on a fisher folks’ jetty in the background – Photograph: Ch’ng Cheong Chew

Up till the 1970s and 80s, the area near Pantai Bersih, 6km north of the ferry terminal, used to be frequented by fisher folks who hauled their catch onto the beach.

But the expansion of the North Butterworth Container Terminal has reached close to Pantai Bersih while just further north, MRCB is carrying out a large coastal project to curb coastal erosion and build a fisherfolks’ jetty.

And just north of that, a monsoon drain from the main road, passing just outside ‘smart school’, Dato Onn Secondary School, empties untreated water directly into the sea.

But as the water became more silted and their catch dwindled, many of the fisher folks moved further north.

Are we going to see more dolphins and other marine life disappearing thanks to our ‘development’-at-all-costs model?

And as our once pristine coastal waters become more polluted, murkier and silted, we retreat inland and build artificial ‘water theme parks’ for our amusement. The controversial Excite water them park was officially opened today in Teluk Bahang.