Special task force to solve Semenyih River pollution

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SHAH ALAM: A special task force involving agencies under the federal and Selangor governments will be set up to solve the Semenyih River pollution issue which is affecting the lives of 1.6 million consumers in the state.

Natural Resource and Environment Minister Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar said the task force would see participation from the Department of Environment (DOE) as well as state government agencies such as the Selangor Water Management Authority (Luas), Kumpulan Air Selangor (Air Selangor) and its local councils.

“Through this cooperation, the (outcome of) investigations and details of evidence that the state government has, needs to be submitted to the DOE to be collected along with the evidence gathered by the DOE.

“We want to ensure a collaborative and continuous investigation (between both governments) so that the river pollution issue, which affects the water supply to 1.6 million consumers in Selangor, can be solved,” he told a press conference here today.

Present was Selangor Menteri Besar Mohamed Azmin Ali.

Earlier, Wan Junaidi met Azmin to discuss the pollution in Semenyih River which caused the closure of the Semenyih River Water Treatment Plant (LRA) more than five times this year alone.

The minister added, besides Selangor, task forces would also be set up at all states in line with the implementation of the National Blue Ocean Strategy (NBOS) initiative by the Federal Government.

Wan Junaidi also said the ministry was now scrutinising all existing laws concerning pollution so that heavier penalties could be imposed on irresponsible parties.

The ministry is now looking at laws such as the Environment Act 1974, the Selangor Water Management Authority Enactment 1999 and the Water Services Industry Act 2006 to see which provided higher penalties.

The intended penalty would be proposed in its investigation papers before submitting to the Attorney-General’s Chambers for evaluation, he said.

“We must take stern action as soon as possible to show that we’re serious in dealing with the pollution issue in Semenyih River,” he said.

Meanwhile, Azmin thanked the minister for discussing the matter with the state government and agreed to set up a task force to overcome the issue collectively.

He also said he was informed by Wan Junaidi that the investigation on the first pollution case of Semenyih River was now over and hoped the parties involved would face justice.

“The state government is conducting internal investigations on two more pollution cases in Semenyih River… We have the evidence and will present them to the ministry.

“Even today, we handed over several samples taken from the polluted water and soil of the affected area, as well as other evidence.”

The Semenyih River LRA was closed on Sept 22 due to pollution in Semenyih River.

It was closed again on Oct 4 following pollution believed to have been triggered from a site in Lalang River.

On Sunday, the LRA was closed yet again due to odour pollution from the Nilai industrial area, in Negeri Sembilan.