Pollution: Those who were prosecuted and found guilty

 Lembaga Urus Air Selangor personnel setting up a barrier across Sungai Semenyih after a pollution incident in May last year.  FILE PIC

Lembaga Urus Air Selangor personnel setting up a barrier across Sungai Semenyih after a pollution incident in May last year. FILE PIC

KUALA LUMPUR: The proposed amendment to the Water Industry Act 2006, which would see offenders slapped with a maximum fine of RM20 million and up to 20 years' jail, comes in the wake of a number of water pollution cases that have resulted in less-than-impressive punishments of offenders under various laws.

In September 2020, the then environment and water minister Datuk Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man said the Environment Department's figures showed that authorities had taken 815 enforcement actions.

A total of 525 premises were cited for water pollution offences between January and August that same year under the Environmental Quality Act 1974.

However, the relatively meagre punishments had raised the ire of the public, who felt that such sentences were a mere slap on the wrist.

The following are cases of water polluters who were tried in court and found guilty:

ON March 19, 2021, a food factory in Kampung Baru Balakong was fined RM225,000 by the Kajang Sessions Court for releasing raw industrial effluent exceeding the standard limit in a catchment area and waste containing lubricating oil into Sungai Balak on Oct 28, 2020. The fine was meted out in accordance with the Environmental Quality Regulations (Industrial Effluent) 2009.

A site inspection found the factory releasing a whitish effluent into the river through an underground pipeline. Investigations also found that raw wastewater and black oil were also discharged into a drain connected to Sungai Balak through an underground pipeline.

THE management of a food and beverage processing plant was fined RM90,000 by the Shah Alam Session Court in Dec 26, 2020, after pleading guilty to two charges of polluting a river by releasing effluent in excess of set standards. The company was charged under the Environmental Quality (Industrial Effluent) Regulations 2009.

THE owner of a catfish breeding pond in Masjid Tanah, Melaka, was fined RM12,000 for causing pollution in Sungai Baru, near Masjid Tanah, in 2020. Action was taken under Section 39(A) of the Water Resources Enactment (State of Melaka) 2014.

THE Penang Environment Department (DoE) on Feb 1 last year issued a RM10,000 compound notice to a food processing factory for causing water pollution by discharging effluent into a public drain.

The factory was found guilty of breaching the Environmental Quality (Scheduled Waste) Regulations by failing to operate its industrial effluent treatment system properly.

A BEVERAGE factory operating in Selangor was fined RM76,000 on Jan 26 last year for discharging over-the-limit industrial effluent into public drains. The Selangor Department of Environment (DoE) said the punishment was meted out by Shah Alam Sessions Court judge Rasyihah Ghazali after the company director pleaded guilty.

The factory was accused of committing the offence in 2020 and according to Section 16 (1) of the Environmental Quality Act 1974 and Regulation 10 (3) of the Environmental Quality Regulations 2009, the discharging of chemicals into public drains is prohibited.

The plant, said DoE, had released effluents with chemical oxygen demand and concentrated suspended solids beyond permitted limits.

The plant was also charged with operating an industrial effluent treatment system without a competent person.

By Aliza Shah - February 13, 2023 @ 7:10am

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