KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 24, 2015:

With the World Rivers Day just around the corner, the World Wide Fund (WWF) Malaysia is calling on Malaysians to place serious attention on the issue of water pollution in the country.

WWF Malaysia CEO Datuk Dr Dionysius Sharma said the issue had become a serious problem in Malaysia and had led to negative impact on the sustainability of the country’s water resources.

In Klang and Kuala Langat specifically, water quality of coastal waters was at a decline.

This, he said, was due to increase in waste dumping into upstream river ways, especially from housing and industrial areas, as well as from discharges from human activities such as farming and land development.

“Rapid economic growth has exerted severe constraints on present water utility infrastructure, especially in areas with high economic growth like the Klang Valley.

“An increase in the population leads to higher demand for water supply which leads to a higher discharge of waste water.

“Waste water from residential, commercial and industrial areas causes foul smell, especially with the presence of garbage that deteriorates the quality of storm water and pollutes the existing river system,” Sharma explained in a statement today.

He said humans aside, polluted rivers also had adverse effects on plants and living organisms as well as the country’s economy.

Sharma added the cost of treating polluted water was high and with severely polluted waters, treatment for consumption was not even possible.

According to the environment quality 2013 report by the Department of Environment, 5.3% of a total 473 rivers were polluted with 36.6% slightly polluted.

“Although the percentage of polluted rivers decreased by 1.7% compared with the year 2012, the percentage of rivers being slightly polluted increased by 2.6%.

“The problem of water pollution is now becoming more serious with reports indicating a downward annual trend,” he warned.

Sharma said in conjunction with World Rivers Day on Sept 27, Malaysians were urged to ponder on the importance of maintaining the nation’s rivers.

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