NO BLUE SEA, JUST RUBBISH: Filthy Port Dickson
Local pollution port dickson
Popular beach town has become a shadow of its once beautiful past
HEALTH HAZARD: An unused sewage pipe, abandoned at Tanjung Kemuning
Malay Mail sent its senior journalist, MASAMI MUSTAZA, to the beaches and the back lanes of the once popular sea resort for the real picture. This is her report:
AN UNNATURAL SHADE OF BLUE-GREY
Perhaps it will surprise you to know that in Port Dickson, the water that flows out from the drains and into the sea is an unnatural shade of bluegrey. It also has the smell of rotten fish.
We took a walk along the beaches, supposed to have been beautiful once upon a time, and were appalled at the sight of big pipes channelling raw sewage from hotels and resorts straight into the sea. We also traversed along a main drain, which we understand is connected to the various drain pipes connecting to all parts of Port Dickson town, that is filled with rubbish floating in stagnant blue-grey water.
Quite unexpectedly we found plenty of mudskippers, as big as our palms, swimming happily in this polluted water. If you wanted to see these hardy creatures, they’re in that big drain behind Port Dickson Walk and the Oceanic Shopping Mall.
FROM KITCHEN SINK TO SEA
We also went to Tanjung Kemuning where we found big pipes channelling water from the nearby kitchens into the sea. We initially thought it wouldn’t be as disgusting as having raw sewage channelled to the sea but once we took a peek into the drain trap, we changed our minds. It was a big concrete encasement that held three big pipes covered at the openings with metal grilles to prevent larger debris from flowing out.
What we saw was a catchment of grey sludge, that we understand gets into the sea anyway at certain times of the month when the tide is higher than usual. The seawater gets into the trap, mixes with the sludge and flows back out. But you don’t have to rely on us, ask the people of Port Dickson: The beaches aren’t just filthy, they’re disgusting.
Parking: a dilapidated boat along a beach in Port Dickson
“MAKES YOU FEEL SICK”
Zakaria Abdullah, 64, a retiree who has lived there all his life, said the beaches are jijik (revolting) and despite being privileged to live near the beach, he said he is too muak (sick) to even care about taking a stroll along the sandy shores.
“And that is why fewer Mat Sallehs come now because they’ve complained and yet nothing has been done.
I see council workers cleaning up the beaches but they aren’t even enthusiastic about doing their work,” he said.
Local fisherman J. Kunaraja Naidu, 41, who has been catching fish in the waters off Port Dickson the past 15 years, said the amount of rubbish thrown into the sea has got to the point that it’s interfering with the fishermen’s livelihood.
“I cast my net and all I get is trash. And then I waste my time sorting out the waste from the catch. Not only that, when the net catches a carbon pipe protruding from the sea bed, it tears. And it’s not cheap to replace them. A small one already costs between RM500 and RM600 and I can’t be buying new nets all the time,” said Kunaraja.
ONCE UPON A TIME
Meanwhile, a resident, who wished to remain anonymous, lamented that the days when small sharks were visible in the formerly clear waters of Port Dickson were long gone.
“When I was small, we could see small sharks swimming up close to the shoreline. Now all I see is rubbish,” he said.
The resident also complained that in Port Dickson town, where the Benteng Malam hawker area is located,
the locals are forced to put up with the coal dust wafting from the nearby jetty used by ferries to unload coal.
“It’s not healthy to be inhaling all the dust.”
WHAT IS TO BE DONE
Filth: A river of trash in Port Dickson
The problem lies mostly with your municipal council. It’s enforcement is akin to a toothless tiger. It’s not just the drains either. Just over a month ago Malay Mail ran an editorial on the closure of eateries in Port Dickson by the Negri Sembilan Health Department.
When the department and the Port Dickson Municipal Council conducted a joint enforcement operation on March 12, they found that close to 75 per cent of the premises they checked were in violation of some regulation or other.
If something isn’t done about this — and quickly — Port Dickson will continue to deteriorate and become a shadow of its once beautiful past.