JOHOR BARU, Aug 16 ― Residents in Kampung Acheh in Pasir Gudang, here, expressed their concern as the water in Sungai Kopok, which provides the lifeline for their daily lives, has turned black and emitted a foul stench.
The residents also claimed that water condition in Sungai Kopok, which is connected to Sungai Kim Kim and Sungai Daing, which was once home to shrimps and crabs, has worsened following the chemical waste dump incident in Sungai Kim Kim in March.
Village head Othman Adon said the 15-kilometre river was believed to be contaminated by waste from nearby factories.
He said authorities such as the Department of Environment (DOE), Department of Irrigation and Drainage (DID) and the Pasir Gudang Municipal Council (MPPG) had been informed of the matter, but no solution had been made thus far.
“If you look at the river, especially after the rain, the water will turn black and there will be unbearable foul stench emitted.
“We want the authorities to help solve this problem, especially for fishermen who are adversely affected as they have lost their source of income. In the past, the village has lively atmosphere with outsiders came here to buy fish, but not anymore,” he told reporters at the Kampung Acheh Jetty yesterday.
Othman said the children used to swim in the river especially around the jetty area, but not anymore as it was feared would affect their health.
Meanwhile, a check by reporters and photographers around the upstream of Sungai Daing, which is estimated to be more than a kilometre stretch and connected to Sungai Kopok, also found the water appeared to be black, foamy, oily, with black substances floating on the surface.
Fisherman, Isamadi Abd Rahman, 45, who brought reporters and photographers to the scene said that due to the pollution, he and other fishermen had to find odd jobs in the area to support the family.
“We now have to go to other places to look for fish. In the past, we didn’t have to go out and find a source of income from the river.
“Please help us fishermen here, many of us have to work in factories and taking up carpentry due to polluted river,” he said.
Johor DOE director Wan Abdul Latiff Wan Jaffar, who was contacted by Bernama, said that he had not received any reports pertaining to the pollution in Sungai Kopok from any party. ― Bernama