By Adrian Lim
KUCHING, Aug 28: Datuk Seri Tiong King Sing has urged the Sarawak Department of Environment (DoE) director to take immediate action and solve the oil spill by a vessel on the Igan River.
Tiong who is Bintulu MP said, in a statement today, the director’s response to the pollution had left many residents to feel dissatisfied and dismayed.
“The oil spill had happened on August 22, spreading through as much as nine kilometres on the river.
“But, the manufacturer’s responsible for the incident had been generously given a two-week ‘grace period’ to clean up the oil on the river.
“It should not matter that the manufacturer’s vessel had spilled some or all of its oil on a portion, or the entire river.
“It is the fact that the oil spill is now affecting many households that depend on the river for their daily lives. This is the point,” said Tiong who is also Prime Minister’s Special Envoy to the People’s Republic of China.
He added the officers involved must conduct field investigations immediately to understand the extent of the damage to the people who use the river water for their livelihood, including fishing, getting clean drinking water, bathing, cooking and so on.
He also said it was untenable to negligently say a polluted river does not merit an immediate clean up.
As civil servants, Tiong said the officers are responsible for the people, not to favour the manufacturers that cause the oil spill.
Tiong who is Progressive Democratic Party (PDP) president said no matter what the laws and regulations at the state and local government levels, there must be prompt action taken at the start of an oil spill.
Otherwise, he added it would lead to fire hazards and serious and long-term pollution of the rivers in Sarawak by the spread of oils and other pollutants. —DayakDaily