Nasib nelayan Pulau Pinang bagaikan telur di hujung tanduk – SAM (BM/Eng)

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A fisherman in Teluk Bahang - Photograph: Sahabat Alam Malaysia

[ENGLISH VERSION BELOW] Nasib lebih 5,000 nelayan pantai di seluruh Pulau Pinang kini bagaikan telur di hujung tanduk berikutan pelaksanaan serta perancangan projek penambakan laut dan kejadian pencemaran yang semakin serius berlaku di perairan negeri ini.

Walau pun masalah-masalah pencemaran dan pembangunan di persisiran pantai sudah sekian lama membelenggu kehidupan golongan nelayan namun ianya tidak mendapat perhatian sewajarnya sama ada dari kerajaan negeri mahu pun jabatan serta agensi yang terlibat.

Mengulas laporan akhbar tempatan (The Star, 28 May 2019) berkaitan isu berkenaan, Sahabat Alam Malaysia (SAM) memandang serius dan semakin bimbang kerana perairan Pulau Pinang bukan saja diancam oleh pencemaran sampah sarap, sisa buangan kilang, air kumbahan, lumpur dan najis babi tetapi juga bahan kimia yang meracuni dan membunuh hidupan laut serta berpotensi menjejas kesihatan awam.

Menurut analisis sampel air dari perairan Teluk Bahang dua minggu lalu oleh Jabatan Kimia Univerisiti Sains Malaysia (USM), kandungan logam berat nikel adalah 944% lebih daripada standard 0.005ppm dalam air laut. Kandungan plumbum dan kadmium juga dilaporkan tinggi pada 0.804ppm dan 0.065ppm (standard = 0.002) masing-masing.

Orang ramai dan nelayan yang ditemui oleh SAM merasa terkejut dengan laporan tentang pencemaran logam berat tersebut di perairan Teluk Bahang dan berharap langkah segera dapat diambil oleh pihak kerajaan bagi mengawal pencemaran ini dari terus merebak serta memberikan kesan lebih buruk ke atas alam sekitar, kehidupan nelayan dan kesihatan pengguna.

Pengguna juga telah menghubungi SAM untuk mengetahui sama ada ianya selamat untuk makan ikan yang ditangkap di kawasan ini.

Tinjauan SAM sejak 10 tahun yang lalu mendapati ikan, udang, kerang, siput dan ketam yang menjadi sumber tangkapan utama nelayan pantai di negeri ini telah berkurangan dan diancam kepupusan. Manakala sumber pendapatan mereka telah merosot antara 50% hingga 70% setiap kali turun ke laut.

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Perairan di lima daerah di negeri ini yang terdedah kepada ancaman pencemaran dan pelbagai pembangunan termasuk penambakan ialah di Daerah Barat Daya, Timur Laut, Seberang Perai Utara, Seberang Perai Tengah dan Seberang Perai Selatan.

SAM kesal sehingga kini tidak ada pendedahan yang dibuat oleh jabatan dan agensi berkaitan tentang tahap pencemaran laut yang berlaku di perairan Pulau Pinang sehingga menimbulkan persoalan orang ramai apa yang dilakukan oleh pihak berkuasa kerajaan selama ini.

Jabatan Alam Sekitar (JAS) telah mula menjalankan pengawasan kualiti air marin bermula pada tahun 1978 di Semenanjung Malaysia dengan tujuan untuk mengenalpasti status kualiti air marin dan menentukan tahap pencemaran daripada punca-punca di daratan dan juga di laut.

Kami tertanya-tanya kenapa pihak JAS tidak mendedahkan isu pencemaran ini lebih awal walhal analisis kualiti air marin sudah pasti dibuat.

SAM percaya jika kerajaan negeri, jabatan dan agensi yang terlibat terus leka terhadap isu alam sekitar dan kesannya ke atas kehidupan nelayan pantai di negeri ini, bukan saja hidupan laut akan pupus malah nelayan dan generasi mereka juga akan lenyap pada masa akan datang.

Justeru SAM menggesa masalah pencemaran di negeri ini ditangani segera dengan mengenalpasti punca pencemaran dan membatalkan rancangan pelaksanaan projek penambakan laut yang bakal melenyapkan kawasan perikanan dan mengancam kehidupan nelayan.

Meenakshi Raman adalah setiausaha kehormat Sahabat Alam Malaysia.

English version

Penang’s fisheries and fisherfolk in jeopardy

The fate of more than 5,000 fishermen in Penang is in critical condition following ongoing and proposed reclamation projects and the increasingly serious marine pollution problem in the state.

Although the problems pervaded by pollution and coastal development have long plagued fishermen’s livelihood, they have not yet received proper attention from the state government or the relevant departments and agencies.

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Commenting on the issue of pollution reported in the Star of 28 May 2019, Sahabat Alam Malaysia (SAM) is very concerned because Penang’s waters are not only threatened by pollution from solid waste, factory waste, sewage, mud and pig waste but also chemicals that are poisoning and killing marine life and potentially affecting public health.

According to an analysis of water samples from Teluk Bahang coastal waters two weeks ago by the Department of Chemistry, University Sains Malaysia (USM), the nickel content was 944% more than the standard 0.005 parts per million (ppm) in typical sea water. Lead and cadmium contents were also reported high at 0.804ppm and 0.065ppm (standard = 0.002) respectively.

The public and fishermen whom SAM met were surprised by the report on the heavy metal pollution in the waters off Teluk Bahang. They hoped that immediate action would be taken by the government to control the pollution from spreading and causing further impacts to the marine environment, fishermen’s livelihoods and public health.

Consumers have also contacted SAM to find out whether it is safe to eat fish caught in this area.

SAM’s survey over the past 10 years has found that fish, shrimp, shellfish, cockles and crabs – which are the main catch of coastal fishermen in the state – have dwindled and are threatened with extinction. The fishers’ income has also declined between 50% and 70%.

Waters in five districts in the state – South West, North East, Northern Seberang Perai, Central Seberang Perai and Southern Seberang Perai – are exposed to pollution and various development projects including reclamation.

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SAM is disappointed that the relevant departments and agencies had not disclosed the level of marine pollution in Penang’s waters. Hence the public’s query of what the authorities have been doing is warranted.

The Department of Environment (DoE) has been monitoring marine water quality since 1978 in Peninsular Malaysia with the objective of establishing the marine water quality status and determining the pollution level from land-based and the sea-based sources. We wonder why the DoE did not disclose this issue of heavy metal pollution much earlier whereas the analysis of marine water quality has surely been conducted.

SAM believes that if the state government, departments and agencies involved are lackadaisical over environmental issues and its effects on the livelihoods of coastal fishermen in the state, not only marine life will be extinct but even fishermen and their generation will gradually vanish in the future.

Thus, SAM urges the Penang state government to address the pollution problem promptly by identifying the sources of pollution and cancelling the sea reclamation project proposal that would result in total the loss of fishing grounds and threaten fishermen’s livelihoods.

Meenakshi Raman is honorary secretary of Sahabat Alam Malaysia.

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