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Reddish water comes on DOE's radar in Pahang

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The reddish sea and river phenomenon where some have alleged linked to bauxite mining in Pahang has alarmed the Department of Environment (DOE) and Fisheries Department.

The state DOE is probing the cause of the reddish water between Pantai Batu Hitam and Sungai Pengorak in Kuantan, reported New Straits Times .

Officers from DOE and the Drainage and Irrigation Department (DID) have collected samples from the sea and river which had turned murky on Tuesday, said a DOE spokesperson.

It was reported that the red sea near Balok may have been triggered by the extensive bauxite mining activities.

Heavy rain since Sunday was said to have washed the bauxite residue from the stockpile near Kuantan port into the nearby river, which gradually flows into the sea, according to the daily.

"Our focus is to identify the cause that resulted the sea to turn red. During the monsoon season, it is common for the rain water to flow in rivers and streams on its way to the sea.

"Our officers will send the water samples to the state Chemistry Department for test and check if it is contaminated with radioactive materials," said the spokesperson.

Meanwhile, the state Fisheries Department advised members of the public not to consume cockles from the red sea and river, reported Bernama .

Malaysiakini ran series of report on bauxite mining and used Google satellite image to show how the thick dust covered the state capital in 2015 as compared with the image taken back in 2011.

More recent tests, conducted on Dec 3 by Maketab Mohamed, a professor of water quality and water quality modelling at Universiti Teknologi Malaysia, found the raw water to be within the allowed levels of contamination.

However, Maketab discovered that treated water in Semambu and Bukit Goh contained lead and aluminium, respectively, that did not comply with the regulatory standards.

New Straits Times in August commissioned a test on fishes caught off Pantai Pengorak and found they contained mercury levels more than 100 times the allowable 1mg/kg level under the Food Regulations 1985.

In its special report, Malaysiakini recounted how bauxite mining has impacted the locals.

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