Sungai Pinang, only a few years ago regarded among the seven most polluted rivers in the country, has improved in water quality from Class Five to Class Three (moderate contamination).
The improvement came after the Penang Municipal Council (MPPP) and IWK spent RM120,000 to fix a water discharge system at an abattoir along River Road and channel the waste water to the IWK treatment plant in Jelutong.
Well done, MPPP and DID; that’s the way to go. (One question: who absorbs the RM120,000 cost? The abattoir, MPPP or IWK?)
Before the system was installed, blood from slaughtered cattle was released into the river. Now, with the system in place, that has stopped. (See Star report here.) This goes to show that efforts to clean up rivers and seas will not succeed unless the sources of pollution are plugged. (Mud balls are unlikely to do the trick.)
The first phase of the rehabilitation project was completed in 2007. Some background info from a 2009 Star report here:
Hanapi said Sungai Pinang was one of the seven most polluted rivers in Malaysia and had was so polluted that it was once deemed Class V with no marine life before the first phase of its rehabilitation, costing RM20mil, was completed in 2007.
Now the river had improved to being between Class III and IV.
On the relocation of the families, Hanapi said 129 buildings comprising 118 houses, six shops, three stores and two temples and would be affected.
“The state government is working out on the compensation plan for the relocation process,” he said.
Hanapi said the second phase of the river rehabilitation would include building of retention ponds and interceptor drains and installation of gross pollutant traps to increase the river water quality to Class II, increase the river’s biodiversity and turn it into a water source and tourism product and beautification work.
He said a study on the cause of pollution showed the wastes and rubbish found in the river were ‘man-made’.
The total cleanup cost was estimated last year at RM150 million.
The goal must now be Class One status (not just Class Two) for all rivers in Penang and elsewhere.
And while we are at it, please look into all open ditches/drains discharging untreated effluent into the sea – especially that big open ditch between the Bayan Baru roundabout and the industrial area.