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The state government is monitoring the water quality in Sungai Rui, Grik, which is suspected to have been contaminated with arsenic elements, following reports of villagers being afflicted with skin diseases. (STR/FARAH SUHAIDAH OTHMAN)

IPOH: The state government is monitoring the water quality in Sungai Rui, Grik, which is suspected to have been contaminated with arsenic elements, following reports of villagers being afflicted with skin diseases.

Perak Education, Technology, Science and Environmental Committee chairman Dr Abdul Aziz Bari said the arsenic elements were believed to have come from mining activities nearby.

“The water sample taken from Sungai Rui by the state Department of Environment showed traces of heavy metal elements or arsenic.

“The water looks cloudy and the pH level has fluctuated.

“The influx of arsenic in the river was caused by mining activities,” he told a press conference today.

He said the mining company had a valid licence and had been operating legally for almost 100 years.

“They are still continuing with the operation despite realising the impact of the activities on villagers,” he said, adding that a discussion with the authorities would be carried out to find a solution.

Aziz said the situation had yet to reach a critical level despite reports of skin diseases among villagers there, including Kampung Baharu Kuala Rui.

“I urge the people not to panic. The state government, together with relevant agencies such as the Department of Environment and Department of Irrigation and Drainage, are monitoring the situation,” he said.

Meanwhile, Perak Environmental Department director Norazizi Adinan said Sungai Rui, which is part of Sungai Perak is now categorised under Class Two, in terms of river water quality.

“We have been taking water samples from the river since 2016, and it was only recently that we found traces of arsenic elements, which are believed to have been derived from mining activities there.

“We will keep monitoring the river quality. Water samples will be taken from time to time,” he said today.

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