GEORGE TOWN, June 6 – The Penang government will implement an action plan to overcome pollution issues in eight main rivers in the state. Penang Local Government, Traffic Management and Flood Mitigation Committee chairman Chow Kon Yeow said the plan would involved badly polluted rivers namely Sungai Pinang, Sungai Batu Feringghi, Sungai Mas, Sungai Satu, Sungai Kechil, Sungai Kereh, Sungai Pertama and Sungai Jawi.

“There are 164 rivers in Penang, but only these eight rivers will be involved in the plan as their levels of pollution are critical and the quality of the river water had been badly deteriorated,” he told reporters here today. Chow said the deterioration of the quality of river water was due to various factors, including solid and liquid waste disposal by sewage treatment plant, restaurants and agriculture industry. “A special team led by the Department of Irrigation and Drainage had been set up to collect pollution inventory data involving 50 metres from the left bank and 50 metres from the right bank of each river.

“Nevertheless, the main factor for pollution for the distance of more than 50 metres from the river banks would also be taken into consideration in the inventory preparation” he explained. Chow said the implementation of the action plan would take six months to three years to be completed with involvement from the relevant agencies, including the Penang Municipal Council, Seberang Perai Municipal Council, National Water Service Commission and Indah Water Konsortium (IWK).

He said among the short-term solutions were public education and awareness campaign, installation of gross pollutant trap in wet markets and food courts, and periodical maintenance on IWK sewage treatment system. For the long-term solutions, Chow said they would include resettlement, demolition and clearing of illegal premises and activities, upgrading of IWK treatment plants and introduction of the concept of biogas for sewage works.