In response to an incident involving massive numbers of dead fish being found in Teluk Bahang waters, the Penang government has set up a task force to develop baseline data on the quality of water.
State exco for welfare, caring society and environment, Phee Boon Poh said the task force was given 18 months to set up the baseline data, which would be useful for future investigations.
“The baseline data will be commonly used by the Department of Environment (DoE), Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM), Penang Fisheries Department, or any agencies investigating the quality of water,” he told reporters in George Town today.
He also said that the state government would also be forming a common platform on collecting samples, such as timing, water temperature, tide and so on.
Earlier, the deaths of 50,000 fish in Teluk Bahang waters was believed due to heavy metal contamination, but Phee said that the level of heavy metal was ‘below the permissible level’.
He said fish died due to low dissolved oxygen (DO) found in the water, as test results had shown the DO concentration was only four milligrammes (mg) per litre, in comparison to normal fresh water rate of 7.56 mg per litre.
“The causes of low DO concentration can vary, such as algae bloom, which is the excessive growth of algae in the environment, contamination of heavy metal and overpopulation of fishes,” he added.
Yesterday, the Penang Fisheries Department in a statement denied allegations that the death of thousands of fish raised in cages in Teluk Bahang waters was caused by poisoning and pollution as claimed on social media recently.