Sungai Kopok: Once a lifeline, now a major health concern

17 Jul 2019 / 23:01 H.

JOHOR BARU: Sungai Kopok, once the pride of Kampung Perigi Acheh, near Tanjung Langsat here, has now lost its lustre.

The river over the past few months has turned smelly and black, and with the situation deteriorating each day, the locals have become extremely concerned.

Village head Othman Adon said on Monday, he reported the matter to officials from the Pasir Gudang Municipal Council.

“After receiving complaints, along with several other villagers I inspected the river and true enough, it had turned black and smelly, much worse than before.

“I then sent a text message to the Department of Environment (DOE), the local authority, and the Johor Bahru district office informing them of what’s happening,” he told Bernama when met recently.

Unfortunately, according to Othman, when council officials came over to investigate, the river colour had turned to normal due to high tide, adding that the discolouration mostly occurred during low tide.

He said the worrying situation has been happening for the past seven months.

“Once, it went on for 18 consecutive days. So far, there has been no follow up from the authorities,” he said.

Meanwhile, a villager, Zaili Chi, hoped the authorities will continue to monitor the situation closely as Sungai Kopok was connected to other waterways such as Sungai Kim Kim, which recently gained notoriety after falling victim to chemical pollution.

“I have high hopes (for the river to be saved). I do not want my children and grandchildren not to have known the river as how it once was,” said the former fisherman.

Zaili said the fishermen in his village were already noticing the effects of the changes, with their haul not bountiful as before.

Kampung Sungai Acheh is home to 532 residents from 122 households, a majority of them fishermen while the rest are odd job and factory workers in nearby Tanjung Langsat. — Bernama

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