Awg Tengah: Five rivers in Sarawak categorised as ‘polluted’

Posted on 16 May 2024
Source of News: Borneo Post

By Marilyn Ten, Borneo Post

Awang Tengah (left) going through his winding-up speech with Deputy International Trade, Industry and Investment Minister Datuk Malcolm Mussen Lamoh at the State Legislative Assembly complex.

KUCHING 15 May 2024 - Five rivers in Sarawak have been categorised as ‘polluted’ based on the monitoring of rivers conducted by the Natural Resources and Environment Board (NREB) in 2023, said Deputy Premier Datuk Amar Awang Tengah Ali Hasan.

The Second Natural Resources and Urban Development Minister said the Sarawak government through NREB has been monitoring the ambient river water quality through the implementation of the River Water Quality Monitoring Programme since 1999.

“In 2023, based on monitoring of 66 rivers throughout Sarawak, 11 rivers are in the ‘clean’ Water Quality Index (IKA) category and 50 rivers are in the ‘moderately polluted’ category.

“The remaining five rivers namely Sungai Kenyana, Sungai Penat, Batang Matu, Batang Jemoreng and Sungai Miri are in the ‘polluted’ category,” he said when winding up his ministerial speech at the State Legislative Assembly (DUN) Sitting today.

Awang Tengah told the august House that in order to preserve the quality and minimise the effects of river water pollution, NREB carried out enforcement through ‘Post-EIA Inspection’ for projects implemented along the river to ensure that the terms and conditions of EIA approval were complied with.

“Environmental awareness and education campaigns were also held with the community, industry and school students by applying modules related to the importance of river protection.

“The NREB also carries out river conservation programmes from time to time in collaboration with other related agencies,” he said.

In the government’s efforts to rehabilitate the water quality of Sungai Plan in Bintulu, he said NREB has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with MLNG Sdn Bhd, Department of Environment (DOE) Sarawak, Bintulu Port Authority and Universiti Putra Malaysia Bintulu Campus to implement the river conservation project within four years.

“Through this project, baseline data will be collected, and monthly monitoring will be done to identify trends in the water quality of the river,” he said.

He said for Miri River, the Sarawak government has completed Phase 1 of the Centralised Sewerage System project for Miri City early this year as part of the initiative to minimise river pollution due to sewage pollution.

“The work of connecting the system to residential areas, commercial buildings and government offices is expected to be completed in the third quarter of 2024.”

He said to prepare for the implementation of Phase 2 of this project, a Valuation Lab was held in March 2024.

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