Malaysia: Malacca River turns black due to dry spell

The Star 26 Mar 16;
MALACCA: The current dry spell is the main reason why Malacca River has turned black.

State Housing, Local Government and Environment committee chairman Datuk Ar Ismail Othman said the wastewater from Malim River, a tributary of Malacca River is not sufficient to dilute the water of Malacca River.

“The colour of the river has changed as there was less rainfall and the contaminated water could not be washed away,” he said yesterday.

He said the river has been classified as Class Three due to the pollution and the State Drainage and Irrigation Department (DID) would immediately start work to rehabilitate it.

Ar Ismail said the state Department of Environment was still tracing the source of the pollution and probing the claims of residents that hazardous materials from industries have been indiscriminately discharged into the river.

“Let an in-depth test be conducted first before we ascertain the source of the pollution,” he said.

Earlier, Klebang Besar Residential Security and Development Committee secretary Khalid Jaafar said that factories nearby could be the main culprits discharging hazardous waste into the river although action was taken against them previously for similar offences.

“I was told that the culprits have been placed under the watchful eyes of the authorities but they are still releasing their untreated waste into the river without any qualms.

“Something is wrong here. The authorities must carry out a study to determine why the factories are still blatantly going against the law,” he added.

Khalid said residents living along the riverbank were affected by the stench from the polluted waters and many had complained of feeling dizzy due to the strong smell coming from the river.

“We are worried that the pollution which caused the water to turn black, will kill the fish. We hope the authorities will act fast to resolve the problem,” he said.

Flight pattern of birds in disarray
R.S.N. MURALI The Star 26 Mar 16;

MALACCA: The current hot weather and strong winds are believed to be affecting the arrival of migratory birds at their traditional spots here.

While the number of raptors arriving at the Tanjung Tuan Forest Reserve has swelled, fewer birds are flying into the Pengkalan bird sanctuary.

In Tanjung Tuan, some 43,000 raptors, mostly oriental honey buzzards, were recorded during a three-week counting period that ended yesterday.

Malaysian Nature Society bird conservative council chairman Mark Ng Meng Yong said it registered 48,000 raptors during a six-week counting period last year.

“This time around, the number is overwhelming in just 21 days of observation,” he said.

“The figure should easily surpass that of 2015 in the next few days,” Ng added during an interview here yesterday.

The count, Ng said, was focused on a tiny green lung along the Negri Sembilan and Malacca border.

Raptors converge at Tanjung Tuan during their crossing to and from Sumatra and other Indonesian islands before continuing on the rest of their journey.

The distance between Tanjung Tuan and Sumatra is only 10 nautical miles, making it the narrowest point for the birds to cross the Straits of Malacca.

However, Ng said strong winds could be the reason for the decline in other migratory birds to the Pengkalan bird sanctuary in Alor Gajah.

“The heatwave could also be another factor but from our analysis, we strongly believe that this is due to the current strong winds, making it hard for birds to fly to their traditional destinations,” he said, adding that these were mostly from the heron family such as the black crowned night heron and the purple heron.

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