GEORGE TOWN, April 27 — Another river in the state has turned black and is emitting a foul stench.
Locals, especially tour operators, and tourists are dismayed by the pollution as the river mouth of Sungai Mas is a popular beach area.
Ammirudin Omar, 27, a convenience shop worker, said several tourists have been complaining to him about the smell.
“The polluted river has caused Batu Ferringhi to have a bad name and has disrupted the holiday mood,” he said.
A tour operator in Batu Ferringhi, Daniel Han Kaw Sey, 33, said several tourists had complained to him that they did not want to stay by the beach as it was smelly.
“Many of them, especially the Europeans, wanted to spend time by the beach but unfortunately, the unpleasant smell spoilt their vacation,” he said.
This is the second tourist spot to be affected by black water after Sungai Batu Ferringhi, which is located nearby, turned black last week.
Local Government, Traffic Management and Flood Mitigation Committee chairman Chow Kon Yeow said the council had identified 12 illegal commercial units, mainly restaurants operating near Sungai Mas, as the main source of the pollution.
“Sewage from these premises is being channelled into the river. The current hot and dry climate had also played a part as the shortage of water had made it almost impossible to naturally wash away the sediment and impurities,” he said.
Chow said he had issued directives to the Department of Environment, and the Drainage and Irrigation Department to take all necessary steps to clean up the river.
“We have also instructed the district land office to take action against the operators of these illegal premises, including issuing eviction notices.
Checks by Malay Mail found that a restaurant was operating by the river and Chow said the authorities would soon issue an eviction notice to the outlet.
When approached, the restaurant owner declined comment.
Last Friday, Malay Mail had in its front page report highlighted the dark and smelly waters of Sungai Batu Ferringhi that flowed to the Batu Ferringhi beach area have irked holiday makers, hoteliers and fishermen.
A senior state government officer had said raw sewage was among the cause of the contamination.