KUANTAN: The sea near Balok turned red this morning, believed to be triggered by the extensive bauxite mining activities here.

Heavy rain for more than 24 hours since Sunday is believed to have washed the bauxite residue from the stockpile near Kuantan Port into the nearby river, which flows to the sea.

The murky red water was also visible in Balok and Batu Hitam, a favourite spot among picnickers.

Villager Zulkifli Samad, 23, who went to gather clams along the beach near Balok here this morning said the sea water appeared normal on Monday but the colour changed overnight, possibly as a result of the heavy downpour.

He said this was the second time the sea had turned red after the first incident in May occurred in the waters near Tanjung Gelang.

When the red dust from bauxite spilled into the sea last May, State Public Amenities and Environment Committee chairman Datuk Seri Mohd Soffi Abdul Razak was reported as saying test results showed that the elements of contamination in the water were still within the permissible levels.

In August, NST's Special Probes Team reported that the uncontrolled and unregulated mining of bauxite in Pahang could unleash deadly radioactive material into the environment, contaminating the air and water sources.

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Zulkifli Samad, 23, gathers clams along the beach near Balok at Sungai Pengorak. Pix by Luqman Hakim Zubir
Zulkifli Samad, 23, gathers clams along the beach near Balok at Sungai Pengorak. Pix by Luqman Hakim Zubir
Pantai Batu Hitam waters had turned red due to the extensive bauxite mining activities. Pix by Farizul Hafiz Awang