Scientist: Pahang Waters Could Be “Dead Zone” for Three Years

Scientist: Pahang Waters Could Be “Dead Zone” for Three Years

Malaysian Society of Marine Sciences chairman Dr. Harinder Rai Singh opined recently that the pollution left from recent mining in the Pahang area may be a “dead sea” for up to three years, as the contamination done by irresponsible bauxite mining and transportation is fatal to marine life.

“It affects all forms of life, from the planktons to the top carnivores in the area, even the marine mammals,” explained Harinder. “For example, these sediments will clog the gills of the fish and the breathing system of the clams. That is when all the marine life will start dying and it will be a dead zone.”

Harinder, who is also a marine expert at the Malaysia National Oceanographic Data, said environmental experts were carrying out daily tests to measure the survivability of the bay’s waters.

“We are comparing the samples we collect daily to see how much damage is done per day. Only then can we tell the extent of harm caused to the organisms,” Harinder said.

“What is certain is this beach would be infertile for at least two to three years depending on the government’s clean up plans,” he said. “While it is possible for marine life to breed in the area after three years, they would still be in a polluted habitat.”

He went on to explain that, though remaining organisms would adapt, they would be fewer in number. Toxins in the pollutants would still reside in their systems as well. As a result, the damage from the pollution will work its way up the food chain. Tests are also being carried out at the water catchment areas near Kuantan Port to gauge what, if any, pollution is there.

“It is too early to say how severe the overall situation is in the affected areas as we are still in the midst of collecting more marine and water samples,” said Harinder.