CAP wants the relevant authorities to take immediate action to preven shrimp farms from causing more damage.
A recent study by the Consumers’ Association of Penang (CAP) revealed that the toxic waste was from the nearby Prai Industrial Park.
Other sources of pollution were residential water waste and black oil discharged to drains linked to Sungai Juru.
“The deteriorating pollution seriously threatens the local fishery sector,” said CAP president SM Mohamed Idris in a statement here today.
Some 300 local fishermen from Kampung Kuala Juru were already badly affected by the deteriorating water pollution as their livelihood depended heavily on fish catch and cockle culture in the river and estuary.
Now the fishermen face another potential serious environmental threat with the emergence of a shrimp farming project operating in 50 ponds on a 99-acre area since six months ago.
The fishery community is worried that the shrimp project would worsen the pollution as the effluents were discharged into the river.
The worsening river pollution threatened the livelihood of fishermen in Kuala Juru and Tok Keramat.
Pollution from the shrimp project could potentially kill the mangrove trees along the river and destroy natural breeding grounds for fish, prawns, crabs and other marine lives, including food supply for the cockle culture, which was an important source of income for fishermen.
The river could also be heavily silted and become shallow.
Idris urged the mainland council, departments of environment and drainage and irrigation to launch an immediate probe and take effective steps to save the river located in the Seberang Perai Tengah district.
He also wanted the authorities to conduct regular monitoring and tighten legal enforcement to eradicate pollution.
“The river has been threatened by pollution for the past 40 years. But until today, there is no sign of the pollution reducing causing much anxiety among the river communities,” said Idris.