This is the Batu Ferringhi Beach we know and love, and we should do everything in our power to protect it and the rest of our coastline from pollution and nasty effluents.
Thanks to blog visitor Syerleena Abdul Rashid for the photos.
It is good that we see the positive images of the beach; so that we know why we need to preserve the place.
As we have seen, sections of the mainstream media are having a field day painting Penang in a bad light (as if there are no other polluted beaches elsewhere in Malaysia). What about all those monsoon drains and other rivers carrying toxic effluents straight to the sea without being treated? Is this just a Penang problem?
It would be tragic if we only focus on Batu Ferringhi – just because there are big bucks at stake there thanks to the tourism, hotel and upmarket housing sectors. Would people have been jumping up and down had this happened at any other location?
What about industrial effluents and shipping discharges into the sea in Penang and elsewhere in the country? And the impact of all that land reclamation on the rest of our coastlines?
As for Batu Ferringhi, it would seem none of the relevant agencies wants to take responsibility. What is IWK’s role in all this? And does anyone know exactly what the Department of the Environment does? What does JPS do?
From what I understand, the sole treatment plant in Batu Ferringhi, built in the 1970s, has a capacity of 30000 people-equivalent, and this may have been surpassed (someone mentioned a figure of 35000?). And the water quality monitoring system is said to be not functioning.
Should anything be flushed into the sea, especially in an area where people are swimming?
IWK, for its part, admitted today that it had released the effluent but then insisted it was treated and safe. According to the Malay Mail:
GEORGE TOWN, Feb 7 — Sewage treatment operator Indah Water Konsortium Sdn Bhd (IWK) admitted today it had released “earthy-coloured” effluents into a Penang river but maintained the discharge is safe.
IWK senior communications manager Shahrul Nizam Sulaiman refuted claims the company had polluted Sungai Batu Ferringhi here, saying it only released treated effluents into the river.
“On Tuesday, there was some maintenance works so a valve from the aeration tank was loose for about 20 minutes which resulted in the release of brownish water into the river at about 10am,” he said after showing reporters around IWK’s Batu Feringghi treatment plant, located next to the river.
But Penang State ExCo member for the environment Phee Boon Poh is not a happy camper. He left these comments on Facebook on separate occasions in response to a posting by the CM’s special investment officer, Jeffrey Chew:
Phee Boon Poh: We have been monitoring the situation afew months ago. The last meeting I attended just before CNY I have expressed State Government unhappiness on the discharge from the stand alone IWK Plant.
Evidence at yesterday meeting IWK was told straight into their face of the evidence gather and place on the meeting table. Two rivers in Island is been environmentally contaminated and polluted by the discharge from their plant. Must seek compensation for damages NOT ONLY UNDER THE PRESENT ENVIRONMENTAL QUALITY BYLAW 2009 which is only RM2,000-00.
They thought CNY we are on holidays. WE ARE ALL ON FULL ALERT AND STANBY. They thought they can do anything and we will not be aware. Sorry my friend, IWK take responsibility. Polluters must PAY. Not the innocent taxpayers. They have paid their dues. Now you have to pay for the damages you gave caused.
We will pursue the case. Enough is Enough. We have ask MPPP and JPS to file claim on the cost of remediation of the rivers and sea. The consumers must be protected on good quality and cleanliness. The tourist industries must be protected. Federal Government MUST STOP PROTECTING IWK. A CRIME IS A CRIME. THIS IS A CRIME AGAINST ENVIRONMENT.
Last year the EXCO summoned IWK to the EXCO MEETING to explain the situation which is fast collapsing. It is indeed very shameful on the part of the Federal Authority who failed in the responsibility.
This is what we are appealing for give back the power of enforcement to the State Authority. Right now only two agencies can enforced on IWK. DOE with limited authority and nominal compound and the other is SPAN. Both are Federal agencies.
YAB is definitely talking with them (not to them or about them). Timbalan He Ketua Kengarah – Ketua Bahagian Penguatkuasaan JAS flew out of Putrajaya to chair yesterday meeting and put his foot down in full acceptance of facts of illegal discharge presented by the MPPP officer.
In point of facts since day one I have been telling IWK of the “overflow” into Taman Drainage System is Health hazard. Most of the Plant in the earlier housing estates outside their Sewage System is failing and cannot meet the Standard A parameter.
Quite different from what you may have read in the mainstream papers, no?
I understand IWK is now meeting the Penang state government at a 3.00pm meeting to present its side of the story.
The lesson to be learned from all this is that before new projects are approved, care must be taken to ensure there is proper supporting infrastructure: public transport, pedestrian pavements, traffic dispersal, utilities, sewerage system, schools, hospitals etc for present AND future needs.
Speaking about the environment, I received a phone call today complaining about Botak Hill looking pretty bad from the Penang Bridge. Restoration work, not just remedial work, must be taken to bring the hill back close to its original condition.