Mineral Dept, SPAN to identify causes of pollution in Sungai Rui, Gerik

Water, Land and Natural Resources Minister Dr Xavier Jayakumar speaks to reporters during a press conference at FRIM in Kepong Janaury 16, 2019. ― Picture by Hari Anggara
Water, Land and Natural Resources Minister Dr Xavier Jayakumar speaks to reporters during a press conference at FRIM in Kepong Janaury 16, 2019. ― Picture by Hari Anggara

LENGGONG, April 7 — The Mineral and Geoscience Department (JMG) and the National Water Services Commission (SPAN) will conduct a detailed study to identify the sources of pollution in Sungai Rui, Gerik.

Water, Land and Natural Resources Minister Dr Xavier Jayakumar said the JMG had set up a task force to identify solutions to the water pollution in the river by regularly sampling water at several predetermined locations.

He said the JMG would provide location and mapping data on mining, logging, agriculture, industrial activities as well as Perak Water Board water treatment plants (LRA) and JMG’s water wells in Hulu Perak.

“The results will be known at least a week after the completion of the study and we do not want to point fingers at one only party without identifying in detail the causes of the pollution,” he said.

Xavier was speaking to reporters after visiting a Eucalyptus farm with Peninsular Malaysia Forestry director-general Datuk Akhirrudin Mahmud and several foreign envoys in Bukit Sapi here, today.

Commenting further, Xavier said the river was a raw water source for the Air Ganda LRA which supplied water to 1,000 villagers with a capacity of 0.68 million litres per day.

He said in general, Klian Intan, Hulu Perak, had been identified an area rich in minerals such as tin and sulfide minerals such as ‘arsenopyrite’ and ‘pyrite’, and any mining or land clearing activities could lead to a natural acidic reaction, which in turn releases heavy metals such as arsenic, iron, lead, zinc and nickel into the water.

Last Thursday, Perak Education, Technology, Science and Environmental committee chairman Dr Abdul Aziz Bari said based on recent tests by the JMG, the pollution of the river was believed to be due to high arsenic content.

Commenting on his visit today, Xavier said Eucalyptus trees had good potential to be planted under the Forest Farm Development Programme.

He said this was due to its short yield of between seven to eight years, making it a good investment opportunity.

“We will do a study on the cultivation of Eucalyptus trees which can be used in a variety of products, and could become a future source of income for the country, thus reducing our dependence on oil palm,” he added. — Bernama