Friday, April 17, 2015

Long Term Water Supply Disruptions at the Orang Asli Villages of Kg Pasu, Kg Pian and Kg Kuala Terbol

On the way to Kg Baharu, Jerantut, I made a detour to visit Kg Pasu, Kg Pian and Kuala Terbol – three of the Orang Asli villages near Kuala Krau, Temerloh, Pahang. These villages are under ADUN Jenderak and Parliamentary District of Kuala Krau. These villages are situation on Rural Road C141, which connect Kuala Krau to Damak (Jerantut).

My friend, Sdr Shafie Dris mentioned to me about the continuous water problem at these three Orang Asli kampongs – Kg Pasu has 134 families, and about 50 % have water supply problem – some more than others. A few families at the end of the village i.e. the ones closer to Kg Pian, has no choice but to source their water from a small stream up the hill about half a kilometer at the back of their houses. Unfortunately both the water quantity and quality is not the best due to the landuse nearby (oil palm and rubber small holdings). After the visiting the site, we suggested a better location about 200 meters or so upstream of the original site.

Orang Asli Villages of Kuala Krau - on Rural Road C141 to Damak

Discussion with the Orang Asli of Kg Pasu (1)

Discussion with the Orang Asli of Kg Pasu (2)
Original GFS Source for Some Kg Pasu Villagers (1)

Original GFS Source for Some Kg Pasu Villagers (2)

Original GFS Source for Some Kg Pasu Villagers (3)

New GFS Source Proposed for Some Kg Pasu Villagers

Dry taps in some parts of Kg Pasu

Kg Pasu

Barrels for mobile PAIP water trucks to fill, Kg Pasu
The situation in Kg Pian and Kg Kuala Terbol is different altogether – no water from the mains, which can be prominently seen on the roadside for the last year or more. There are supposed to be 138 families from 60 or so houses in both villages. For their water supply, the villagers from Kg Pian and Kg Kuala Terbol pooled up their resources to build a network of Gravity Feed System (GFS) using Sg Pupuwer (a tributary of Sg Krau) to bring water to the houses. Incredulously, the Village Committee (JKKK) of Kg Pian recently gave permission for logging to be carried out in the Bukit Galong, the watershed for Sg Pupuwer. An open conflict has occurred with some villagers created a blockade, denying heavy vehicle access to the logging area on Bukit Galong.

Villagers Pointing to Sg Pupuwer Watershed (Bt Galong) at Kg K. Terbol
Sg Pupuwer, a tributary of Sg Krau, at Kg Kuala Terbol

Sg Pupuwer at Kg K Terbol - GFS Source for Kg Pian & Kg K Terbol

Villagers Pointing to the GFS Pipe for Kg Pian & Kg K. Terbol

Kg Kuala Terbol

GFS Pipe for Kg Pian

Villagers pointing to the Logging Blockade Site, Kg Pian

Logging Blockade Site

The Signage for the Logging Concession to Bukit Galong, Kg Pian

Logging Blockade at Kg Pian

Pengurusan Air Pahang Berhad (PAIP) has tried to resolve the water supply problem by constructing a booster pump (pam pengalak) at Lubuk Wong as well as water storage tanks nearby in 2013. Unfortunately, both are unused until now – probably due to the fact that no water reaching the boaster pumps.

Empty Storage Tanks at Lubuk Wong

Booster Pumps at Lubuk Wong (1)

Booster Pumps at Lubuk Wong (2)

On another note, Sg Krau, which is flows near the villages, is relatively clean (Class I stream) but the Orang Asli refused to use it except for taking bath in it. This is probably due to the fact that there are villages upstream as well as the presence of the Perlok Fisheries Research Center, which discharge wastewater into Sg Krau.

Sg Krau at Kg Pian

Waterless Mains on Rural Road C141 (to Damak)

Rural Road C141 (to Kuala Krau)

Diving and Swimming Hole at Sg Krau, Kg Pian

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Compliance of the Effluent Discharge (Concentration) Versus The Impact on the River - The Case of Sg Sepetang

The latest Environmental Quality Report published by the DOE (Malaysia) indicated that there was more that 90 % compliance of the effluent discharge standards (Standards A and B) by industries in the country. But how come our rivers are getting dirtier by the day? The explanation is quite simple that most environmental quality students (or better) worth their salt can understand - Standards A and B only measure the CONCENTRATION of the effluents i.e. the BOD, COD, Ammoniacal Nitrogen, TSS, Heavy Metals etc. BUT the true parameter of effluent discharge should be the LOAD (Flow or discharge rate x concentration) -  is not measured or enforced.

Environmental Quality Report 2013 (DOE, Malaysia)

The present compliance of the discharge concentration also does not consider the  cumulative (or additive) impacts of the industrial and domestic wastewater being discharged into a single watershed. This situation and the absence of a water quality model for that particular river will disallow for us to target a river classification for that river i.e. Class I, II, III, IV or V.

National Water Quality Standards (Malaysia)

Complaints from villagers in the Sg Sepetang watershed, specifically from Kg Dew, Kamunting brought me to the place and made me do a investigation of the water pollution issues.

Sg Sepetang is a tidal influenced river with a relatively small amount of fresh water influx. Mangroves trees and nipah palms lined the banks from Kuala Sepetang until Kg Dew. River fishing especially for the Udang Galah (Macrobrachium rosenbergii) is an important resources for the locals and about 6 or so years ago, ecotourism in the form of firefly tours became an important source of income to some locals. Local boatmen usually take tourists Sg Sepetang between 7 to 10 pm at night to view the one of the wonders of Nature - congregating fireflies synchronizing the flashing of their mating lights.

Pteroptyx tener in Sg Sepetang (Photo credit: Selamatkan Sg Sepetang FG Page)

A Local Fisherman from Kg Dew showing Some Shellfishes Harvested from Sg Sepetang

Shellfishes (Kepah) Harvested from Sg Sepetang
Crabs Caught in Sg. Sepetang
Recreational Fishermen Fishing for the Udang Galah in Sg Sepetang (Photo Credit:

Udang Galah (Macrobrachium rosenbergii) (Photo credit:

Conflicts in the land use are inevitable, there are a several shrimp farms, which discharge their wastewater into Sg Sepetang as well as oil palm plantation being planted right into the river's edge - even some Berembang (Sonneratia caseolaris) trees, the "home" for the Pteroptyx tener fireflies were cut down to make way for the oil palm plantations.

One of the Few Shrimp Farms in Sg Sepetang watershed

Cultured Shrimp Harvest, Sg Sepetang

There is also a major industrial area upstream, the Kamunting Industrial Area. There are many industries situated there but the most prominent being the Silverstone Tire Factory and Latexx Partners Sdn Bhd, a glove factory. There are now three Latexx plants in operation but Factories 4, 5, 6, 7 are now currently being built and will be in operation soon.
One of the Many Latex Partners Glove Factory, Kamunting Industrial Area

The effluent discharge are supposed to "comply" with Standard B i.e. BOD at or below 50 mg/L and COD at or below 100 mg/L but my laboratory analyses indicated non-compliance with BOD at 64 mg/L and COD exceeding 200 mg/L. But the discharge of the effluent into the drain (which flows through Kg Pak Dollah before discharging into Sg Malai about 3.5 km away) is at 3 L/s and the drain became anoxic about 1.6 km away.

Effluent from Latexx Partners Sdn Bhd
Video of the Discharge
The fishermen in Kg Dew complained that the Udang Galah  catch has dropped drastically and they are worried the effluent from Latexx Partners Sdn Bhd as well as other factories from the Kamunting Industrial Area will affect and eventually kills of the Cyclotropis carinata snail, which is crucial to the life cycle of the Pteroptyx tener fireflies.
Cutting from the local papers
"40 Fishermen Affected"

So, we called in Aduan Rakyat TV3 to do a coverage on the issue of the pollution of Sg Sepetang on 8 and 9 April.

Pak Wahab, a local fisherman being interviewed
Yusri, a Ecotourism Guide being interviewed

On Sg Sepetang

Pak Wahab sampling the wastewater

In Situ Reading at 1.6 km from the the Discharge Point 2.4 km away from the Discharge Point

Confluence with Sg Malai - about 3.2 km away

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Langat South Forest Reserve (Peatland), Banting/Tg. Sepat

YB Elizabeth Wong of Selangor rang the alarm bells of the possibility of the Langat South Forest Reserve, which has the last vestige of the peatland virgin jungle reserve (VJR) of about 270 hectares, is to be converted to oil palm plantations by Perbadanan Kemajuan Pertanian Selangor (PKPS). The VJR together with about 6,500 hectares of  mixed logged-over forest with the fringes already illegally converted to oil palm plantations as well as vegetable farms and tapioca patches. Remember, Banting is a "kerepek" capital of Selangor if not of Peninsular Malaysia.

The MB of Selangor gave the Selangor Forestry Department and Perhilitan (Wildlife and National Parks Department) to work together to do a rapid Ecological Assessment of the forest reserve to indicate whether it is worth keeping.
Langat South Forest Reserve with the illegally grown oil palms cut down and replanted with forest species

With En Yussainy of Selangor Forestry Department and a Meranti Tembaga sapling

Both departments requested for MNS to be in the picture and I think this is a very opportune time for a Nature and Environment-based NGO to work with two of the most relevant departments in Conservation. I gave sent an SOS SMS to the Director-General of the Forest Research Institute of Malaysia (FRIM), Dato' Dr. Latif to get some assistance in the form of specific researchers such Dr. Lim (Orang Asli and socio-economic issues). We are given two weeks to finish the study and the report. The dates 21 - 26 Dec are considered as fieldwork dates.

We have a short meeting during lunch time of the Kota Damansara Community Forest seminar on 20 Dec at the Club, Bandar Utama. In attendance were En Borhanudin, the Director of Selangor Forestry, Dr. Lim of FRIM (another representative from FRIM but her name slipped my mind), Lim Teck Wyn, Mrs. Pasu and Tan Sri Salleh.

On 21 Dec. 2010 (my birthday!), we (Mrs. Pasu, Teck Wyn and I) drove to Banting to meet up with En Yussainy, Renjer Kamaruddin< En Asri and other staff of the Selangor Forestry Department, who led us into two contrasting compartments - the first was a former oil palm plantation but with the palm trees already felled and replanted with 11 forests species (merbau, kapur, merawan siput jantan, merawan bunga, kelat paya, meranti tembaga, meranti sarang punai, ramin melawis, nyatoh taban merah, chengal, manggis, meranti seraya, kalumpang jari and karas (Aquilaria?)).Total costs of cutting of the oil palm and replanting are about RM 500, 000.

Later they brought us to Compartment 25, part of the VJR mentioned above.
Virgin Jungle Reserve (VJR) signage at Compartment 25
Outside of Compartment 25

Old Tapir tracks just outside Compartment 25

Wild boar hunters' hide at the boundary of Compartment 25

At the boundary of Compartment 25
A forester's marker for a flora species transect

About 50 meters from the outside boundary of Compartment 25

Mrs Pasu with Mr. Chan Yee Choong of FRIM

A 3.1 meter basal circumference of a tree confirmed by En Asri and Teck Wyn

A "kelubi" palm (where are the fruits?)

A confident Teck Wyn crossing a peaty drain :-)

Peaty water due to high concentration of humic acids

Take a look at the photos attached and give us your comments about converting the Langat South Forest Reserve into another oil palm plantation.

Gunung Ledang, 21 February 2010

Gunung Ledang, 21 February 2010
On the Peak of Gunung Ledang after the MNSJ Strategic Planning

Malaysian Nature Society, Johor Branch


I am the present Chairman of the Malaysian Nature Society, Johor Branch (MNSJ) (2010-11) and was duly elected as the President of the Malaysian Nature Society at the 63rd AGM at Taman Rimba Lagenda Ledang, Tangkak on 25th Sept. 2010. It is MNSJ's standing policy to engage directly with the relevant Federal and State agencies/departments on issues related to Nature and the Environment. This non-hostile approach is more effective than the hostile "in your face" attitude but we would have our say if necessary.


About Me

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Skudai, Johor Bahru, Johor, Malaysia
I am an academician in Universiti Teknologi Malaysia situated in the southern state of Johor, Peninsular Malaysia. My fields of expertise are watershed management, water quality and water quality modeling. I did my B. Sc. and M. Sc. at the University of Iowa (1978 - 83) and worked for the Department of Environment (DOE) until 1990, when I joined UTM and later did my PhD in Watershed Science at Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado. I was the Chairman of the Malaysian Nature Society (MNS) Johor from 2006 - 2011. I was the President of the MNS from 2010 to 2014.