Malaysia: Close watch over river pollution in Johor

KATHLEEN ANN KILI The Star 13 Aug 16;

JOHOR BARU: The state government has issued a directive to the Environment Department (DOE) to conduct inspections on factories operating near rivers in Johor.

Health and Environment Committee chairman Datuk Ayub Rahmat said this was to ensure the factories adhere to stipulated licensing regulations and monitor any discharge of effluents into rivers that could cause pollution.

“We have instructed the DOE to carry out checks on factories near rivers in the state including Sungai Johor, Sungai Muar, Sungai Batu Pahat, Kahang and Mersing.

“We will not hesitate to take action against those polluting the environment,” he told reporters at the Johor Baru Health Department's Safety and Health Week at Hospital Permai here.

Ayub also said that the DOE has warned another oil palm mill operating in Mersing after it was found flouting regulations.

He noted that following investigations, the factory was found to have disregarded nine regulations that could lead to river pollution.

“They have been given three months to rectify the situation and if they fail to conduct the necessary repairs and improvements, we will not hesitate to suspend the company's licence.

“A check also showed that besides operating in Mersing, the company also runs five other factories in Johor,” he added.

Ayub also pointed out that the state government is still waiting for a full report on the Sungai Johor pollution in July.

It was earlier reported that some 600,000 consumers in the southern part of Johor were affected when three main water treatment plants were forced to temporarily shut down due to high ammonia content in Sungai Johor.

Following the incident, an oil palm mill belonging to a government-linked company in Ulu Remis near Layang-layang here was issued a 60-day notice of closure.

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