Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Distressed Johor straits

New Straits Times has an interesting article and pix today about the distressed Straits of Johor separating Malaysia and Singapore.

The picture shows a rare and recent phenomenon of shoals of fish leaping into the air due to unknown reasons.

The article hazarded a guess that the phenomenon could be due to the increase in the pollution levels in the straits, which is noted for its high levels of lead, mercury and e-coli bacteria.

The newspaper cited Malaysian Nature Society Johor branch bio-diversity researcher Vincent Chow as saying that it is possible that the water is warming up as a direct result of global warming, causing marine parasites to multiply faster than normal and attack the fish.

"When these parasites attach themselves to the body of the fish, the discomfort causes them to dart about in an effort to dislodge the parasite," Chow said.

Well, it doesn't come as a total surprise that marine life in the straits is distressed. The article didn't give the reason for the high pollution levels in the straits.

As mentioned in a previous post, the straits of Johor is extremely dirty due to two reasons -- continued discharge of waste by Johor rivers into the straits, and the retarded flow of water due to the land-based causeway linking Malaysia and Singapore.

Malaysia and Johor must step up efforts to clean up the rivers and relocate industries and squatters along the dirty rivers.

An overhead bridge to replace the causeway will definitely help water circulate more freely in the straits and flush the toxic water. An overhead bridge project was first mooted in 1996 by Malaysia but sadly, the Malaysian and Singapore governments have not been able to agree to proceed with the project.

Concerted efforts are needed to clean up the dirty straits and help the distressed fish and marine life breathe a little easier.

1 comment:

politikus said...

it's still not as bad as china with over 500,000 kg of fish affected by pollution and global warming. it is still a cause for concern no doubt.

anyway, i recently shifted to my own domain, it'd be great if you could update my link :)