Don't Swim In Batu Ferringhi, It Could Be Contaminated With E.Coli

The public has been advised against swimming in the waters of Batu Ferringhi after black water patches in the sea was found to be contaminated with the E. Coli bacterium.

Cover image via bernama

Alarmingly High Level Of E. Coli Contamination In Batu Ferringhi Confirmed

Alarmingly High Level Of E. Coli Contamination In Batu Ferringhi Confirmed

Image via

The Department of Environment (DoE) yesterday confirmed that Sungai Batu Ferringhi was contaminated with an alarmingly high level of the Escherichia coli or E.coli bacteria.

Samples collected by the DoE last Tuesday had faecal coliform and e.coli readings at a staggering 16,000cfu (colony-forming unit)per 100ml. The numbers exceed the permissible 100mpn/100ml as per Class 2 of the Marine

The Government will have a clearer picture on the cause behind the severe pollution of the river flowing into Penang’s Batu Feringghi beach area once it receives an official report on the matter today.

“The Department of Environment (DOE) is studying the source of pollution in this area and a report will be submitted to me.

Natural Resources and Environment Minister Datuk Seri G. Palanivel said court action would be taken against the culprits in a week or so, and punishment upon conviction could range from a fine of up to RM100,000, or a jail term not more than five years, or both.

When questioned about Indah Water Konsortium (IWK) claiming innocence over a blackish effluent discharge into the river, he maintained that it was too early to pinpoint the culprits.
"We cannot blame anyone now. Let the investigations continue. We are taking this seriously. We will come out with a full report in two weeks," he said.

Traces Of E. Coli Bacteria Have Been Found In The Seawater Near Batu Ferringhi On 4 February 2014

A Part Of The Sea Water Off Batu Ferringhi Beach Has Turned Black Recently, Raising Concerns Among Holidaymakers

Image via

Initial investigations of the black patch in the waters near Batu Ferringhi revealed it had traces of a deadly bacterium.

Authorities in Penang have been put on alert following indications that a polluted river at the Batu Ferringhi beach here may contain the E. coli bacteria.

This comes following a visit by the Department of Environment (DOE) to the site today, and subsequent testing on samples of a dark-coloured effluent found in Sungai Batu Ferringhi.

State Environment committee chairman Phee Boon Poh said: “Early samples of the seawater taken by the Department of Environment had traces of the E. coli bacteria.

“The department has to conduct more tests to confirm the findings.”

A Part Of The Sea Water Off Batu Ferringhi Beach Has Turned Black Recently, Raising Concerns Among Holidaymakers

MALAYSIA Traces of E.coli found in Batu Ferringhi waters, says environment body BY HAFIZ MARZUKHI AND SANDEEP CHAURLEYFEBRUARY 4, 2014 SHARE WITH OTHERS 41 7 Google +0 2 TOOLS INCREASE TEXT DECREASE TEXT RESET TEXT PRINT ARTICLE Dark and murky water flows from the river through the beach at Batu Feringghi yesterday. — Picture by The Malay Mail Dark and murky water flows from the river through the beach at Batu Feringghi yesterday.

Image via

It was reported yesterday that a part of the sea water off the Batu Ferringhi beach here, a popular tourist destination, had turned black allegedly due to contamination by sewage wastes as well as serious coastline erosion.

The black patch raised concerns among holidaymakers but hoteliers said it had yet to affect their business.
Swedish tourist Curt Temin, 67, said he was appalled by the sight of the black patch of water.

“What’s causing it? I hope the authorities will view this matter seriously and resolve it within the shortest time possible,” said Temin, adding he was disappointed as it was his first time visiting the island.

It Is Believed That The Black Water Patch Was Caused By Contamination By Sewage Waste And Serious Coastline Erosion

In an immediate site visit yesterday, MPPP and DID officials found that the mouth of Sungai Batu Ferringhi was heavily contaminated by black-coloured substance. “Action will be taken by the relevant authorities according to their respective laws and jurisdiction,” said the MPPP statement.

A report in The New Straits Times today highlighted visible erosion along a 100-metre stretch of the shoreline, with black effluents along Sungai Batu Ferringhi which flows into the sea there.

It Is Believed That The Black Water Patch Was Caused By Contamination By Sewage Waste And Serious Coastline Contamination

Image via

Discharge from Sungai Batu Ferringhi had flowed into the sea, affecting coastal waters.

A Broken Sewage Pipe Or A Illegal Dumping Site Could Have Caused The Black Substance To Flow Out To Sea

Sahabat Alam Malaysia
said the water in Sungai Batu Ferringhi also stank, and noted that the polluted water appeared to be coming from a source about 300m from the sea.

A Drainage and Irrigation Department (DID) officer said this could have been caused by a broken sewerage pipe, causing black effluence to flow downstream Sungai Batu Ferringhi and out to sea.

Phee said that MPPP was was currently probing the source of the pollution and if it was coming from an illegal dump site or from a faulty sewage system.

The Department Of Environment Has Taken Water Samples To Conduct Tests. They Advise People Against Swimming In The Waters Of Batu Feringghi.

Part of Sungai Batu Ferringhi found blackened with effluents.

Image via

Natural Resources and Environment Minister Datuk Seri G. Palanivel said DoE would expedite the analysis of the water samples taken out from the area.
"Usually, it takes about two weeks for a thorough report, but since it concerns tourism and health, we are expediting it." Additional reporting by Muhamad Syakir Abdul Wahab

Right after beach erosion left a 50m stretch with no more than a sandy patch, Department of Environment (DoE) officers are discouraging people from swimming in the waters, following suspicion that the contamination could be caused by the bacteria.

The Health Department Has Been Asked To Check The Seafood From These Waters For E. Coli Contamination

Sahabat Alam Malaysia added that the pollution could affect marine life and the health of swimmers in nearby areas because the pollution might have spread.

Chairman of the state Welfare, Caring Society and Environment Committee, Phee Boon Poh said the Health Department and the Penang Municipal Council (MPPP) had been informed of the finding for further action.

“We have asked the health department to conduct checks on all fishing activities in the vicinity of the Batu Ferringhi area for elements of the E-coli bacteria.”, he said.

Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng Says The Black Water Patch Could Have Been Caused By Indah Water Konsortium

Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng Says The Black Water Patch Could Have Been Caused By Indah Water Konsortium. But Indah Water Has Dismissed The Allegations.

Image via

Meanwhile, Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng said the state government was awaiting feedback from the MPPP and had been informed that it was actually under the Indah Water Konsortium Sdn Bhd (IWK).

From what we understand from (MPPP head Datuk) Patahiyah Ismail, it was caused by IWK (Indah Water Konsortium Sdn Bhd).
I don’t want to comment further.”

“Let MPPP give their feedback. This is IWK’s problem. MPPP will issue a statement on this.”

Indah Water Konsortium Has Dismissed Allegations Of Faulty Sewage Pipes. They Suspect The Pollution Is Coming From Hotels And Hawker Centres.

While IWK confirms that investigation of the black water was sewage and other organic waste, it is certain that the discharge was not due to its treatment plant sited upstream on Sungai Batu Ferringhi.

“IWK officers conducted an investigation following the complaint and found that our treatment plant that serves 30,000 users in the area is in good working order. There are no faulty or cracked pipes in the river," she told

“Our officers canvassed the river and surrounding areas and strongly suspect that the leachate is coming from other source of pollution including the hotels’ solid waste disposal collection pipes.

“There are also hawker centres in the area that are throwing waste into the river that was opposite our treatment plant.

She added that the solid waste centre did not only collect sewage but also food waste which is then transferred to IWK’s treatment plant where it is treated.

Northern Region Marine Department Director Says They Will Investigate The Root Cause Of The Problem

Polluted water from Sungai Batu Ferringhi flowing into the sea.

Image via

Northern Region Marine Department director Abdul Aziz Muhamud said his department would assist other relevant bodies to find the root cause of the problem.

“We view this matter seriously and will join forces with the other agencies to investigate the source of this black water patch,” said Abdul Aziz.

“We need to know how this came about, the origins of the blackish substance and if it is dangerous.”

NGOs Have Called For Precautionary Measures To Prevent People From Swimming In The Contaminated Waters

In the wake of this incident, Sahabat Alam Malaysia (SAM) called for the stretch of beach to be cordoned off. Its president, S.M. Mohd Idris, said the move should be carried out in the interest of the safety of beach-goers.

Malaysian Nature Society Penang chapter adviser D. Kanda Kumar said putting red-and-white striped tape around the area was not adequate as beach-goers would ignore it.
"They need to put up notices around the area warning tourists about the danger.

"They can also post guards to make sure tourists stay off the beach," he said, adding that water sports operators should also be advised to avoid the waters for now.

Tanjung Bungah assemblyman and environmental activist Teh Yee Cheu said pending the results of DoE's tests on the water samples, the public should refrain from swimming in the stretch.
"Hotels in the area must also alert their guests, as the public cannot be exposed to the area."

Sahabat Alam Malaysia (SAM) President S.M. Mohd Idris Is Disappointed As The Pollution Conflicts With The State's Slogan Of 'Cleaner and Greener Penang'

"SAM is disappointed that such polluting activities still occur because it conflicts with the state's slogan of 'Cleaner and Greener Penang'.
"We call on the relevant authorities to probe the cause and source of the pollution. The findings should be made public to allay public concerns."

"If they suspect, for some reason, that it should be closed, please do not hesitate. The agency concerned must take it upon themselves to close the beach. If you know it, please do not just say it, please do it," he told the New Straits Times.

“The water in Sungai Batu Ferringhi is not only black but also stinks. The problem must be addressed effectively and immediately to prevent widespread impact on public health,” said Idris.

“The pollution can affect marine life and the health of swimmers in the surrounding coastal areas. The authorities should act fast as Batu Ferringhi is a popular area for both locals and foreigners.”

Penang Environment Working Group Chairman, "This Is A Serious Problem. The Authorities Must Act Swiftly ... And Not Play The Blame Game."

Penang Environment Working Group chairman Datuk Dr Ong Hean Tee, while commending DoE's quick response, lamented that the matter was being taken lightly by the authorities.
"This is a serious problem. The authorities must act swiftly and work together to find a solution and not play the blame game."

He said that if there were dangerous substances in the water, the authorities must cordon off the beach until remedial works were carried out.
"For that, we need data on the sea (water quality) as soon as possible."

E. Coli Bacteria (Escherichia Coli) Is Usually Harmless But Some Strains Can Cause Kidney Failure

E.Coli Bacteria (Escherichia Coli) Is Usually Harmless But Some Strains Can Cause Kidney Failure

Image via

E. coli is the name of a germ, or bacterium, that lives in the digestive tracts camera of humans and animals.

There are many types of E. coli, and most of them are harmless. But some can cause bloody diarrhea. One common type is called E. coli O157:H7. In some people, this type of E. coli may also cause severe anemia or kidney failure, which can lead to death.

Other strains of E. coli can cause urinary tract infections or other infections.

You get an E. coli infection by coming into contact with the feces, or stool, of humans or animals. This can happen when you drink water or eat food that has been contaminated by feces.

Signs And Symptoms Of E. Coli Infection:

The patient will typically experience symptoms within three to four days after being exposed to the bacteria, however, in some cases they may appear within a day or a week later.

Abdominal pain,
Diarrhea with bright red bloody stools,

No current treatments can cure E. coli O157:H7, it has to run its course.

Most doctors advise patients to get plenty of rest and drink lots of water to prevent dehydration.

Signs And Symptoms Of E.Coli Infection:

Image via

You may be interested in: