KUCHING, April 4 — The Department of Environment (DoE) is still investigating the source of pollution in Sungai Tuang, Samarahan, including monitoring the river’s water quality, said Datuk Rubiah Wang.

The deputy rural and regional development minister said she had received complaints from Kampung Pinang residents regarding the pollution in Sungai Tuang on March 25 after schools of dead fish were found floating in the river, which also reeked.

“We have filed a complaint to the DoE and they have gone on the ground to monitor the situation.

“After almost two weeks of monitoring, the department found that the contamination was most likely from a chicken farm in Siburan area near Pangkalan Kuap.

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“However, there is no concrete evidence to prove this,” she told reporters at a breaking of fast event with agencies under the Ministry of Rural and Regional Development and community leaders from Kota Samarahan parliamentary constituency here last night.

In this regard, the Kota Samarahan MP advised residents around the area to immediately contact DoE should they find that pollution had occurred in the river again.

“This is so that water samples can be collected immediately to identify the source of the pollution,” she said.

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In its findings, DoE said the incident is believed to have occurred on March 18 and 21, when residents found dead chickens with maggots and a foul smell emitting from the waters of Sungai Tuang.

“DoE’s investigation on March 26, which also included the use of drones to monitor the stretch along Sungai Tuang and Sungai Senggik (a tributary that feeds into Sungai Tuang), found that there were chicken and pig farms as well as a palm oil factory on the upstream of Kampung Pinang.

“The department’s preliminary inspection near the palm oil factory found no discharge of black water entering the Sungai Tuang stream. The effluent quality discharge record from the palm oil mill in question complies with the licence conditions stipulated under Section 16 of the Environmental Quality Act 1974,” DoE said in the statement.

In assuring that it would continue with its investigation, DoE also recommended that an integrated investigation with other agencies such as the Natural Resources and Environment Board (NREB), Department of Veterinary Services Sarawak (DVSS), and local authorities be carried out to identify and address the cause of the pollution in Sungai Tuang. — The Borneo Post