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Johor to shut farm which polluted river

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KOTA ISKANDAR: Johor has decided to shut down the fertiliser factory and poultry farm allegedly responsible for ammonia pollution in the Johor River last Friday.

According to national news agency Bernama, the Johor Public Works and Rural and Regional Development Committee chairman Datuk Hasni Mohammad said the decision was made at the weekly meeting of the state executive council.

He said the government was deeply concerned by the pollution issue, even though the factory operator had recently applied to change the conditions for which the land can been used.

The state government has also instructed the Veterinary Services Department to inspect all livestock farms near rivers to ensure they adhere to environmental regulations.

This is to prevent further contamination that could threaten the eco-system of rivers in the state, the New Straits Times (NST) reported yesterday.

It quoted State Health, Environment, Education and Information Committee chairman Ayub Rahmat as saying the latest case of ammonia pollution in Johor River last Friday should be a lesson to enforcement agencies that they must be more vigilant.

The pollution led to the shutdown of three water treatment plants and disrupted water supply to 1.8 million users.

Johor Veterinary Services Department director Aida Muhid said the state has about 800 livestock farms.

"Some of the farms have been operating for 30 to 40 years and these farms mostly apply... farming methods that can pose a risk to the environment. They can possibly cause river pollution and lead to stench, noise and health issues," she said.

Dr Aida said when these problems occur, the department issues a temporary stop-work order to the premises under the Poultry Farming Enactment 1997.

"A stop-work order can be up to three months as the poultry farm needs to ensure all provisions of the Malaysian Good Agricultural Practices is observed accordingly." - THE STRAITS TIMES