Malaysia: Sungai Raja Hitam falls under Class Four, needs extensive treatment

Zahratulhayat Mat Arif New Straits Times 15 Mar 19;

IPOH: Sungai Raja Hitam in Manjung has been categorised under Class Four in river water quality and needs extensive treatment.

Perak Environmental Department director Norazizi Adinan said this happened due to the location of Sungai Raja Hitam which was located about six kilometres from a oil palm factory there.

“We are always taking river samples to the Chemistry Department for analysis, besides frequent monitoring at the factory.

“In February this year, the court imposed RM4,000 fine and the factory has learnt from its mistakes. Several initiatives have been taken to improve their services,” he said when met at his office in Bangunan Seri Kinta here today.

Norazizi said the department had also identified at least 6,000 causes of pollution that affect rivers in the state and among them were factory wastes and landfill sites.

“It is impossible to visit each of the affected places as we lack manpower but our priority is to visit the most problematic areas and check on action that has been taken before,” he said.

Asked on measures that were taken to improve the quality of the river, Norazizi said it took a long period to ‘heal’ the river.

“We don’t have specific medicine to heal the polluted river. The disease needs a strong collaboration and efforts among all agencies as well as cooperation from members of the public.

“It depends on what are the substances that pollute the river and the size of the river. But the most important thing is cooperation from all agencies to identify the cause of the pollution,” he said.

However, Norazizi said looking at water quality trend in the state between 2017 and this year, there was an improvement in terms of the class and quality and the department would continue to monitor rivers in the state.

The National Water Quality Standards classify the water quality of a river based on pollutant levels. They are divided into six classes to show whether the water is suitable for swimming, drinking, fisheries and others.