Friday, 7 February 2014
Guan Eng Black river in Batu Ferringhi
The Penang government has advised the public against swimming in the part of the sea that is fed by Sungai Batu Ferringhi, which is polluted by human waste discharged from an Indah Water Konsortium (IWK) plant.
Authorities suspect that the blackish water in the river contains the E. Coli bacteria and the Chemistry Department is conducting tests to confirm this.
E.Coli, which is found in the gut of warm-blooded animals, is an indicator of fecal contamination.
Senior state executive councillor Chow Kon Yeow said the Department of Environment had carried out checks and confirmed that the IWK plant had been discharging untreated human waste into Sungai Batu Ferringhi.
Chow has ordered IWK to stop the discharge immediately, but he told reporters the plant could not be shut down because it is the only facility treating sewage from homes and hotels in the area,
However, IWK spokesman Shahrul Nizam Sulaiman has absolved his company of any fault, saying its sewage treatment operations had always complied with the regulations of the Natural Resources and Environment Ministry.
“We are not doing anything wrong,” he said. “IWK and its team of experts are keen to work with other parties, even though we are not at fault.”
Meeanwhile, former Batu Kawan MP Huan Cheng Guan said it was not enough for the state government to send out an advisory through the press.
He said the authorities had yet to put up warning notices around the area or assigned guards to bar the public from the beach.
“Such a lackadaisical attitude clearly shows their misplaced priorities and lack of concern for the wellbeing of Penangites and visitors,” said Huan, a frequent critic of the state government.