DENGKIL: Selangor Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Amirudin Shari has urged Putrajaya to take stronger measures against those found guilty of polluting the country’s water supply.
He said punishments were inadequate to punish those responsible for such acts.
‘We hope the energy, science, technology, environment and climate change minister will impose heavier penalties on culprits,’he said after visiting the Tasik Idaman pond here yesterday.
Selangor Water Management Authority (LUAS) is pumping water from Tasik Idaman to Sungai Semenyih to stabilise and dilute the odour caused by the pollution.
On Saturday, the water treatment plant was forced to shut down due to odour pollution, caused by people illegally disposing of chemical waste at the inlet around the Indah Water Konsortium (IWK) plant.
An estimated 1.5 million people were affected by the disruption.
Amirudin said harsher punishments were needed as water disruptions due to pollution happened too frequently.
Under the Environmental Quality Act 1974, those found guilty of such offences can be fined a maximum of RM500,000 and be jailed for no more than five years.
He said the culprits behind the incident had yet to be identified.
In May, Energy, Science, Technology, Environment and Climate Change Minister Yeo Bee Yin said the government aimed to replace the Environmental Quality Act 1974 with a new act, which would see greater enforcement powers and stiffer punishments meted out to those who pollute the environment.
She said the new law would focus on boosting enforcement and legislative powers, given that current laws were insufficient to tackle environmental issues.
It was reported that the proposed amendment to the act is expected to be tabled in Parliament next year.
Amirudin said several measures had been taken to improve the situation.
‘We have begun pumping water from Tasik Idaman to Sungai Semenyih. Hopefully, this will help with the dilution and subsequently reduce the odour pollution.
‘We are pumping 12 million litres and another machine is on the way so that we can pump another 12 million litres,’ he said, adding that the process would take about 24 hours.
Taps may continue to run dry on Christmas day as Pengurusan Air Selangor Sdn Bhd yesterday said supply in affected areas in the Klang Valley would return in stages starting midnight and will be fully restored in three days.
Given that the disruptions were on a large scale, Air Selangor said the recovery period for customers would vary from one area to another depending on the geographical location and altitude of the customers’ premises.
‘The process of increasing the balance pool level and channelling it to the distribution system as well as the service pools at the affected areas are underway before water supply can be provided for the staged recovery process.
‘Consumers in the vicinity of the distribution system will receive water supply beginning midnight tonight (yesterday).
‘Air Selangor expects water supply to be fully restored in Petaling, Hulu Langat, Kuala Langat and Sepang and parts of Putrajaya within 72 hours,’it said in a statement.
It said water tank trucks would continue to be mobilised to affected areas.
Affected residents are advised to get the information on the water disruption via Air Selangor’s mobile phone application, website (www.airselangor.com.my), Facebook page (Air Selangor), or Twitter account (@airselangor).
Users facing an emergency can send a text message to 15300, or a WhatsApp message to 019-281 6793 or 019-280 0919.