Sue the Selangor Govt’ for use of water from mining ponds, says leading consumerist
Puteri Sabira Tuesday, June 24, 2014
George says that people should take a legal action against the State Government as they failed to heed public’s grouses over the safety of water mining pools.
Consumers Association of Subang and Shah Alam (CASSA) president Datuk Dr Jacob George said the public should take legal action against the Selangor Government as it has failed to protect consumers’ rights and interest over the safety of water sourced from disused mining pools.
He said the legal action against the State Government should be pursued as it had failed to heed grouses raised by consumers and putting them in a situation that could be hazardous to their health.
Speaking to The Mole in a recent telephone interview George said studies conducted on the suitability of mining pond water being used as reserves for consumption purposes, have placed excessive worry on Selangor residents.
This is especially when there are reports that water treatment plants would not be able to treat the traces of heavy metal it contained.
“We have warned them not to source water from any mining pools as it is dangerous for consumers but they (the Selangor Government) did not listen to us due to their arrogance,” George said.
He also said that many consumers and non-govermental associations have expressed their disappointment over the State Government’s failure to be transparent on the safety of water sourced from the mining pools.
“We have been consistent that mining water is not safe for consumption and that it had been contaminated.” George added.
George added that the matter should be looked into thoroughly as the water content could endanger public health.
“Mine water normally contains heavy metal ions. So, as a consumer, the public will want to know whether the water that they get is safe for consumption.” he added.
Last Friday,Selangor exco member Dr Ahmad Yunus Hairi said according to the Health Ministry they ensured that the parametres of sampling done were within the standards set by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and sampling methods were in detail, taking into account the depth of each pond too.
George said the public still have no confidence in Dr Ahmad Yunus’ statement as he is not an authority to declare whether the water from disused mining pools is safe.
“We should not attempt to use the water sourced from disused mining pools until an independent party from the US and Australia can shed some light on the safety of water from the disused mining pools,” he added.
George also challenged the Selangor Government leaders to drink the water sourced from the mining pools before it being distributed to consumers.
The New Straits Times reported that one of the nine mining pools intended for use by Selangor state government to pump water into the state river may have been contaminated with traces of arsenic and is above the recommended level by the Health Ministry.
In a report, it stated that based on a sampling exercise conducted by the state health department and Selangor Water Management Authority (Luas) on May 20, traces of arsenic was found in the water from Hang Tuah 6 pool at a limit above those prescribed by the ministry.
The health ministry then conducted a test on June 5 at the same pool where the result yielded negative and contradicted the earlier test.
Health Minister Datuk Dr Subramaniam waded into the issue and advised the Selangor government against using disused mining pools as a source of water, stating inconsistent levels of heavy metal from one pool to another.
George also reminded the authorities should collaborate together to hinder the Selangor Government from using water from disused mining pools as a source.
“I have been in this industry for at least 40 years and I am very disappointed to see such a sad scenario in Malaysia,” George added.
“We don’t want to put people’s life at stake as the water can cause chronic poisoning,”
It was reported that experts from the World Health Organisation (WHO) and Singapore will be roped in to study the contents of water, including that from disused mining ponds and rivers being supplied to treatment plants in Selangor.
The State Government would also seek the service of experts from Singapore, based on their experience in managing its water source, especially in producing recycled water (Newater).
Prior to that Selangor Mentri Besar Tan Sri Abdul Khalid Ibrahim in a report said that water extracted from disused tin mining ponds in Selangor are safe for consumption.
“We are very happy to open up because we are checking every week and the results will be uploaded (on Luas – Selangor Water Management Board) website so there is no need to sue,” Khalid was quoted as saying.
Khalid had been facing growing pressure on the safety of water mining pools and even his Pakatan Rakyat ally, DAP’s MP for Klang Charles Santiago had threatened to sue the State Government if the results of the studies on the tin mining pond in Bestari Jaya were not revealed.
Santiago insisted that water from abandoned mining ponds were a health hazard if consumed, adding that it would also pollute the Selangor River as the existing treatment plants were not equipped to remove the traces of heavy metals from it.