River pollution in state under control, says Sarawak assistant minister

Assistant Urban Planning, Land Administration and Environment Minister Len Talif Salleh speaking to reporters after launching a seminar on river pollution and conservation here today.

KUCHING: River pollution in Sarawak is still under control and the water is considered safe for use, says Assistant Urban Planning, Land Administration and Environment Minister Len Talif Salleh.

“The condition of the rivers in Sarawak is not that bad. Only a few rivers in the state are polluted badly, like Sungai Padungan and Sungai Bedil.

“But, generally speaking, the rivers in the state are still in the category of ‘good for consumption’,” he said, adding that there are no “dead rivers” in Sarawak.

He said this after launching a seminar on river pollution and conservation here today.

According to Len Talif, the state government had introduced the centralised sewage system to improve the quality of the rivers in Sarawak.

In future, he said the centralised sewage system would help to treat wastewater from residential and commercial buildings before it is released into rivers.

“We hope to see major improvement in the water quality of our urban rivers once the central sewerage treatment facility in Kuching is fully operational.

“We have started with commercial buildings. The next stage is we’ll be looking into connecting the centralised sewage system to the residential buildings.

“However, I’m not able to give the specific timeframe because it involves quite a lot of money and requires public awareness as well,” he said.

Sarawak has some 22 major rivers, with most of them classified as slightly polluted and some still pristine.