JOHOR BARU: Johor Ruler Sultan Ibrahim Ibni Almarhum Sultan Iskandar has ordered the state government and local authorities to come down hard on those responsible for polluting Sungai Tebrau.
Sultan Ibrahim, accompanied by his son Tunku Panglima Johor Tunku Abdul Rahman, made a surprise visit by boat to check on the polluted river on March 14.
In a statement posted on his official Facebook page, the ruler expressed regret over the irresponsible dumping of rubbish into the river.
Sultan Ibrahim cited this as one of the main causes of flash floods here.
The post, which had garnered more than 5,000 likes, was attached with a video showing the ruler manning an airboat while his son travelled beside him on another airboat.
Environmentalist Vincent Chow called on the state government to take action against those responsible for river pollution in Johor.
The Malaysia Nature Society (MNS) chairman said that Sungai Tebrau once had a lot of shellfish but their population has declined over the years and currently only South American and African catfish inhabit the river.
“Our local marine species cannot survive in the water there which has very low oxygen levels.
“The river has been contaminated by factory effluents and solid waste from upstream where residential and industrial areas are located,” he said when contacted here.
Chow noted that river pollution has not been addressed effectively so far and it was high time the authorities do something about it before it is too late.
Chow said although there are sufficient policies and laws to protect rivers in the state, enforcement was lacking.
“If the pollution is not addressed soon, the state government will likely have to fork out a lot more to clean the river in the future.
“The government should enforce the law and educate the people on the consequences of dirty rivers,” he said in calling on the authorities to meet with related non-government organisations on the matter.
Citing Sungai Johor as another example, Chow said that the upper part of the river had been polluted due to sand mining, which has been going on for more than 15 years.
“The muddy discharge streams down the river.
“The pollution has affected marine life as the population of fish and udang galah (giant fresh water prawns) has dwindled by some 60% to 70%,” he added.