National, Weekly Highlights

Enough is enough! DAP’s Michelle Ng seeks tougher penalties for water pollution.

Every drop counts.

Klang Valley citizens are sick and tired of repeated water cuts due to irresponsible parties polluting rivers and streams. Polluters must realise that their reckless actions are affecting the livelihoods of others.

What’s worse, during a health pandemic, water cuts can be disastrous and exacerbate the spread of Covid-19.

The latest water cut has been made even tougher following restrictions put on interstate travel set by the conditional movement control order (MCO) in Kuala Lumpur and Selangor.

The water cut has come at the most inconvenient time, as the restricted movements mean individuals cant travel to live with family out of state.

Even dining out is troublesome. Two people per car means families would need to make several trips to eat out if they would like to save water needed for cooking and washing up dishes at home.

The present water cut was the result of the shutting down of the Phase 1, 2, 3 and Rantau Panjang water treatment plants after pollution of raw water resources was detected in Sungai Selangor at 2am yesterday.

An estimate of 1.2 million households covering Kuala Lumpur, Petaling, Klang, Shah Alam, Kuala Selangor, Hulu Selangor and Kuala Langat were affected.

Air Selangor has announced that after 24 hours of disruption, 13% of affected areas already have clean water restored.

An additional 34 static water tanks, 17 local service centres (Pusat Khidmat Setempat) and 21 public pipes were also made available for those affected by the water cut.

Subang Jaya assemblyman Michelle Ng, who was at Jalan SS13/3 to coordinate water assistance to the public, said recurring incidents of river pollution were an indication that legislation on river care, water security and environmental policies needed is not effective, needs to be reviewed and changed.

“For now, the current penalties imposed cannot cover the clean-up cost of pollution.

“So we are recommending the minimum penalty be increased to RM200,000,” said Ng.

She added that a mechanism such as “Polluter Pays Principle” would have to be imposed on industries that continued to pollute. Under the policy, a fee is charged to factories to have their wastes recycled.

“In the committee’s findings, it was pointed out that water flow and not location was the main problem.

“Even if the factories were relocated, if they continued to dump their waste into manholes, these would go into the drains and then end up in the river.

“The solution would be in a zero discharge policy whereby a recycling plant should ideally be built to capture upstream effluents and later be released downstream away from the water treatment plant,” said Ng.

The tougher penalty for offenders is expected to be tabled at the state assembly sitting at the end of this month.

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