Malaysiakini News

Sungai Balok turns red after rain due to bauxite

Bernama  |  Published on  |  Modified on

The heavy rain during the whole of yesterday has resulted in the water of Sungai Balok and the nearby beaches to turn reddish, believed to be due to bauxite pollution.

A boat operator next to Sungai Balok, Ibrahim Muhammad, 45, said he realised the river water had started to turn red this morning when he was about to repair his boat.

"Normally, the river water is yellow, not red like this. There is bauxite mining up in the hills. Maybe, the mixture of rainwater and bauxite causes the river to change colour.

"The red river water also results in the white bottom of my boat becoming red," he told Bernama in Kuantan today.

The river flowing out to sea also caused the water in several beach area including Pantai Batu Hitam, to become reddish as if mixed with mud.

The bauxite mining activity also caused nearby residents to be restless when it rained heavily because they feared the possibility of bauxite landslide or floods which were caused by clogged drains.

A teacher, Kamarul Ismail, 41, who stayed in Taman Beserah Jaya in Kuantan, said he would check the condition of the soil and drain beside his house as soon as the rain stopped as his drain had been clogged with soil in the past.

"The same thing happened when it rained heavily yesterday. I am worried if it floods... this area has a history of flooding in 2013.

"What is most worrying is that if floods occur this year, the water may rise faster as the drains are becoming more shallow due to the siltation caused by bauxite soil which collects during rain," he said.

His thoughts were echoed by Madrasah Asyraful Madaris gardener in Beserah, Abdul Razak Abu Bakar, 48.

He said the water in the drain in front of the school rose faster after the bauxite mining in the area started last year.

He was worried about the safety of 150 students at the school who were set to return to school on Jan 4 in case there was a sudden flood.

Meanwhile, the flood situation tonight remained unchanged from this evening with 51 victims from 11 families.

State Malaysian Civil Defence Department director Zainal Yusoff said the flood victims from the Kempadang, Berjaya Permai, could return home tomorrow if it did not rain tonight.

All the victims were moved to the relief centre at Sekolah Kebangsaan Kempadang yesterday at 6pm, after their homes were inundated by flood water overflowing from drains due to heavy rain.

To date, other districts in Pahang did not experience floods.

- Bernama

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