GEORGE TOWN, Apr 19 – The Consumers’ Association of Penang (CAP) urged the Penang state government and relevant authorities to investigate and take immediate action to resolve marine pollution in Teluk Bahang that has threatened the livelihood of 600 coastal fishers here.
Its President S.M.Mohamed Idris said the pollution problem that has become more serious in the past three months has resulted in affected fishermen not going to sea because their main catch of fish and shrimp has declined drastically. He said before fishermen were beset with this problem fishermen here were earning RM200.00 per day but now they can only get an income of RM30.00 to RM40.00 daily.
“Because it is not worth going to sea for the meagre income and worried that their nets will be damaged, the affected fishers decided not to go to sea as long as the government does not solve this problem. CAP’s survey found that the likelihood of this pollution occurring is from the discharge of sewage and run-offs into the Batu Ferringhi River which flows into the Teluk Bahang sea, subsequently causing serious pollution,” he said.
Idris also said that the water in Batu Ferringhi River is not only black in colour and oily, but also silty and stinks. He said high quality fish like pomfret and threadfin have dwindled. In addition, he added that the fishers reported that some types of fish such as gelama, tengkerong, grouper and snapper have been found dead due to the pollution. He said the fishers’ nets have also suffered damage after getting stuck in mud.
“CAP also urged the Penang City Council (MBPP), the Department of Irrigation and Drainage (DID) and the Department of Environment (DOE) to take immediate action to address this problem. A comprehensive investigation and study pertaining to the dredging of the river mouth, the impact of reclamation and development projects in the highlands of this area also needs to be done by the authorities,” he said.
“CAP is concerned that if the source of pollution is not dealt with effectively, the environment and the livelihood of fishermen in Teluk Bahang would continue to be threatened and might get worse in the future. CAP regrets that although this issue has beleaguered the fishers for some time now but effective action has yet to be taken by the responsible authorities to resolve their problem. CAP calls upon the concerned parties to pay compensation to fishermen who had lost their livelihood as a result of this pollution,” he added.