PETALING JAYA: Water pollution cases went down last year, with the Environment Department recording 862 complaints compared with 915 in 2020.

Meanwhile, from Jan 1 to May 31 this year, the department received 317 complaints of water pollution, sources within the department told The Star yesterday.

Selangor, which houses the nation’s largest economy, received the most complaints on water pollution, at 262 in 2020, 227 in 2021 and 97 this year.

This was followed by Johor, which had 175, 138 and 53 cases respectively in 2020, 2021 and 2022.

All the other states recorded less than 100 complaints of water pollution in each of the three years.

The Environment and Water Ministry is committed to enforcing the Environmental Quality Act 1974 as it aims to curb the occurrence of water pollution.

Sources say the Act is being strengthened in phases.

The first phase involves the increase of fines and penalties, and a mandatory imprisonment to ensure stricter actions against environmental criminals including river polluters.

“These amendments are awaiting review and approval from the Attorney-General’s Chambers.

“Meanwhile, Phase Two of the amendments of the Act involves a comprehensive review of the Act. It is being refined in consultation with experts and other stakeholders,” said the sources.

The department is also strengthening the enforcement of the Act by focusing on premises that generate industrial effluents. This involves special inspection and ad-hoc operations such as Ops Gempur.

Besides that, it is also taking strict legal action against errant owners of such premises. Aerial surveillance using drone technology will be carried out to monitor and detect any suspicious activity or abnormal pollution. They include carrying out scheduled patrolling, especially at pollution hot spots during and after office hours.