PUTRAJAYA – Sungai Telang in Kampung Beletik, Lipis, Pahang where the river water has turned murky could be polluted, according to the Pahang Department of Environment (DOE) which investigated public complaints on the poor condition of river water.
Natural Resources and Environment Minister, Datuk Seri Dr Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar said the DOE had taken samples of the river water for analysis by the Department of Chemistry, followed by further investigation at several locations in Kampung Beletik where they found mining activities going on at the Tersang Forest Reserve.
He said the ministry was in the process of ascertaining whether the mines were operating legally or not, from the water samples taken from the locations following complaints received from netizens via WhatsApp on Dec 12 and 19.
“I view this river pollution seriously as Sungai Telang is the main source of water supply for the villagers for drinking, washing and fishing.
“Therefore, I have asked the DOE to use whatever power provided under the Environmental Quality Act 1974 to tackle this pollution issue,” he said in a statement, here, today.
Wan Junaidi said meanwhile, a stop-work order would be issued to the mine operators involved to prevent further erosion, as well as an order for rehabilitation work be carried out at the locations that were the source of the river pollution.
Failure to abide by the orders could result in each of the mine operators be fined up to RM50,000 or jailed for up to two years, or both, if convicted.
“The ministry is always sensitive to the needs and concerns of the people in managing the country’s development so as to preserve our resources and environment in sustainable manner,” he said.
As such, he said, the DOE office in Cameron Highlands had also conveyed the complaints to the Pahang Minerals and Geoscience Department, State Director of Land and Mines Office, Lipis District and Land Office, and Raub District Forestry Office for further action based on their respective jurisdiction.- BERNAMA