KUANTAN: The state Department of Environment (DoE) has confirmed that Sungai Terpai, which flows through the logging concession area in Hulu Sungai Lembing, has been polluted.
In confirming a New Straits Times Press report, state DoE director Rosli Zul said his men had confirmed this when checking on the river.
He said they had also found that Sungai Pasir Kubur was similarly polluted, though the river does not run through the logging concession area.
Rosli said checks on three other rivers — Sungai Keliu, Sungai Jin and Sungai Daguk — showed that they had not been polluted.
He said initial investigations had revealed that the logging project had an approved Environmental Impact Assessment report, which had been done in 2013, under Mentiga Corporation.
“The present status is that part of the area has already been logged... of the rivers which are said to be polluted, only Sungai Terpai flows through the area,” he told NSTP.
The NSTP report had revealed that some 500ha of jungle in Hulu Sungai Lembing had been felled indiscriminately without regard to the impact on the environment nor the impact to tourism in the surrounding areas.
The report also claimed the five rivers mentioned by Rosli had been affected by logging, with waters turning murky and a yellowish colour.
Rosli said the NSTP report had prompted the DoE to take action by investigating whether the five rivers had indeed been polluted.
They had taken samples from each river.
“These are just the initial findings. The investigation is still going on and we will release the final findings when they come out... proactive steps have already been taken to ensure the rivers are not polluted,” he said.
Rosli said the last tests conducted on the rivers before the NSTP report were done in May, when all five were found to be free of pollution.
Meanwhile, Sungai Lembing assemblyman Datuk Sohaimi Mohamed Shah said he viewed the claims of pollution seriously.
He said all logging activities need to be carried out with as little environmental and social impact as possible.
“I have met with all quarters, including the contractors and tourism industry players, and told them that logging activities need to be carried out in a planned manner and one in which there will be no negative effects on the environment,” he said.