March 21, 2021 11:27 AM
PETALING JAYA: A consumer organisation wants the authorities to move away from mere “sloganeering” when it comes to protecting water resources and has called for more action as it claims that pollution is getting worse.

The Consumers’ Association of Penang (CAP) said there is an urgent need for tougher water-related laws with much higher penalties in view of the numerous violations caused by irresponsible individuals and industries.

It said recent incidents, including the depletion of water at reservoirs in several dams such as the Muda Dam in Kedah and river pollution in Selangor and Johor, are evidence of deteriorating water quality and supply.

In Kedah, it said, residents are worried that their health will be affected because the supply of tap water has not only been reduced but also dirty and silty.

“Communities sourcing water from the hills also complain that the supply is contaminated with mud as a result of uncontrolled logging and extractive activities in the catchment area,” CAP said in a statement in conjunction with World Water Day tomorrow.

It said the water quality at Timah Tasoh lake in Perlis and Tasik Chini in Pahang has also been badly affected by environmental pollution from the surrounding areas.

“Our investigations found that threats to water resources such as destruction of catchment areas due to logging activities, and pollution of rivers and seas by industrial waste, sewage, agrochemical residue and sediment from agricultural areas, and animal manure and livestock waste including garbage disposal, have increased.

“We urge the environment and water ministry and state governments to enhance their efforts and improve water management. The slogan to save our forests, our rivers and our sea should not remain mere slogans,” it said.

CAP said it also found that drainage in agricultural areas is used as a dumping ground for pesticide containers by a handful of farmers, causing the water to be polluted and threatening aquatic life.

While it is easy to blame the authorities, it said, the public should also do their bit to value water in their lives by practising frugality and not wasting it.

It said seawater too has been polluted by wastes, including oil being discharged from merchant ships, which happens often near such areas as Port Dickson, Negeri Sembilan.

“This is causing marine life to be endangered and the source of income of fishermen being severely affected,” it said.