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Expert urges state govts to come up with list of industries posing risk to water source

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Residents collect water from a Syabas water point in Kuala Lumpur following the water disruption in the Klang Valley September 5, 2020. ― Picture by Shafwan Zaidon
Residents collect water from a Syabas water point in Kuala Lumpur following the water disruption in the Klang Valley September 5, 2020. ― Picture by Shafwan Zaidon

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 9 — All state governments have been suggested to come up with a list of industries that are high risk and should not be situated near surface water intakes to serve as a reference to all agencies involved to prevent pollution of water sources.

Water quality expert Dr Zaki Zainudin said the state government which is responsible for water management should create the list so that it can be used as a ‘state directive’ for state and federal agencies.

“The main objective of the list is to ensure that no new (risky) industries are set up (near the vulnerable areas).

“Secondly, for the existing industries, they will definitely request for expansion, but if they fall into the list, they will not be allowed to do so,” he told Bernama after appearing as a guest on the Ruang Bicara programme produced by Bernama TV here last night.

He also explained that state governments should plan on zoning such industrial areas in downstream and low-risk areas.

Meanwhile, the Association of Water and Energy Research Malaysia (AWER) president S. Piarapakaran said the association had sent a letter to the government, providing a couple of suggestions to prevent recurring water pollution issues.

“First, we request to add a Section (in pollution-related legislation) so that we can claim damages easily. If for consumers, commercial industry, and so on, when they try to claim damages, if its done through the normal legal process, it is difficult to prove (in court) as it (investigation) has to be done individually.

“Secondly, the investigation process, maybe one of them has committed the offence, but behind the person may be a bigger mastermind. That is why maybe we see now that the government has set up a special unit for investigation with the cooperation of the military and police, which can help further strengthen the environmental investigation,” he said.

Residents in the Klang Valley have been facing water supply disruptions since last Thursday as the Sungai Selangor Phase 1, 2, 3 and Rantau Panjang water treatment plants were shut down due to pollution of raw water source, and is currently recovering in stages.

Yesterday, Environment and Water Minister Datuk Seri Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man said his ministry would set up an Environmental Crime Unit in the near future to address the issue of pollution. — Bernama

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