THE STATE government has already taken several measures to address the pollution of Sungai Bernam, which killed thousands of fish last November.
State Women’s Development, Family, Community Welfare, Housing and Local Government Committee Chairman Datuk Rusnah Kassim (BN-Behrang) said an investigation into the matter has already been launched by the Fisheries Department and the Department of Environment.
“We have already identified certain quarters, including a chicken farm, that are believed to be responsible for the high levels of ammonia discharged into the river.
“The chicken farm has already been given a grace period of six months, their deadline being May 31, to upgrade their sewage system so that poultry waste can be disposed of properly instead of being discharged directly into the river.
“If they fail to comply with this condition, as well as several others, the state will not hesitate to shut them down,” she told a press conference during the State Assembly sitting on Wednesday.
Last November, it was reported that thousands of dead fish were found floating in Sungai Bernam. The die-off was believed to have been caused by pollution.
The discovery was made by residents as they were about to go fishing on the river near the Selangor border.
A report was lodged with the Perak Fisheries Department and forwarded to the Department of Environment.
Rusnah was clarifying the matter after several news reports surfaced recently, highlighting the same problem of thousands of fish being found dead in the river again.
“Apart from poultry waste, we believe that manure from other vegetable farms in the area could have also flowed into the river due to rain.
“The authorities have already collected water samples from the river for a more in-depth investigations,” she said.
She added that the state government is aware that the livelihoods of fishermen have been severely affected by the fish die-offs.
“From earning RM2,000 a month, now it’s hard for them to earn RM20 a day.
“Once the river water is safe again, the Fisheries Department will release fish eggs into the river.
“We will also be doing the same for former mining ponds near the area so that the fishermen will have an alternate source of fish,” she said.
Speaking on another matter, Rusnah also criticised Tasik Gelugor MP Datuk Shabudin Yahya’s statement regarding marriages between child victims and rapists, saying that “it’s not right.”
“Once a man rapes, marriage gives no reassurance that the man will be a good husband.
“Doing something as heinous as that to a child, and then legalising it, there’s something really wrong right there,” she said.
On Tuesday, Shabudin said that there was nothing wrong with a rape victim marrying a rapist, and even suggested that some nine-year-olds were “physically and spiritually” ready for marriage.