KUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysian Water Association (MWA) has called on local authorities to step up enforcement to curb illegal waste dumping by unscrupulous parties.
It urged the government to revise penalties and legislation on river pollution to deter such acts.
MWA president Datuk Abdul Kadir Din said industrial water pollution issues should have been managed more effectively.
In a statement yesterday, he stressed the need for a long-term and sustainable solution to stop the problem at its source.
He said stricter pollution control laws should be in place to prevent water pollution and prevent frequent water supply disruptions, such as the introduction of an environmental tax based on pollution load discharged into rivers.
Kadir said most industries released processing waste into rivers as an easy way to get rid of them.
He urged the government to introduce new policies and regulations to ban certain pollutants, with pollution permits to be issued as control measures.
‘Some industrial wastes are ordinary wastes, just like domestic sewage.
‘Such wastes can be easily treated at public sewage treatment plants.
‘But some wastes, like heavy metals, volatile organic compounds and oil and grease, do need special treatments.
‘Industries can install a pretreatment system to separate such dangerous wastes.
‘The partially-treated wastewater can be sent to the public sewerage system for further purification.’
Kadir called on the Department of Environment (DoE) to build a complete database on waste generation in line with the development of Water 4.0 and enhancing the Internet of Things and Big Data.
This, he said, would help with monitoring, identifying the owner and the location of pollution sources.
‘The many violations of river sources of various nature have led to a perception that there have been a lack of strict pollution control policies in the country.
‘The policies are there, but perhaps due to apathy from the enforcement authorities, (certain) industries take the laws for granted and circumvent them easily.’
Kadir said illegal factories should be eradicated and urged the authorities to adopt the use of digital technology, such as GIS Aerial Mapping,to better monitor and locate illegal structures.
‘These should include the management of sullage as this is one of the growing issues.’
To encourage industries to take up pollution control seriously, he said affordable pollution control equipment should be developed, with incentives given for installing the equipment.
Kadir called on DoE and relevant authorities to conduct regular audit and spot checks on the industries and improve enforcement efforts by outsourcing manpower.
He said the public should be better informed on issues relating to water pollution, including how it could effect health and marine life and how it could be prevented.
‘Humans are the main cause of water pollution.
‘So it is our responsibility to introduce stricter measures to curb pollution at water sources.’