Pitch-black and foul-smelling, Sungai Pinang has earned an infamous reputation even before being cited as one of the top ten dirtiest rivers in Malaysia a few years ago. Since then, numerous efforts have been taken by the state authorities to clean up the 3.5km-long river, whose nearby residents also periodically suffer from flash floods.
While the river enjoyed a brief period of improved water quality during the lockdowns, it has now reverted to its original state. Penang Island City Council (MBPP) workers fish out one tonne of rubbish from the log boom installed in Sungai Pinang daily, the majority made up of plastic waste, discarded furniture such as sofas, bed frames and even refrigerators as well as animal carcasses.
State Infrastructure Committee chairman Zairil Khir Johari believes that a flood mitigation project involving two parallel drains built alongside Sungai Pinang may be able to address the rubbish issue in the river. The parallel drains would be able to trap the rubbish from being washed into the river. This second phase of the Sungai Pinang flood mitigation project costs RM150 million which will be borne by the federal government and is expected to take four years to complete.
Meanwhile, dredging works at three parts of Sungai Pinang will begin soon at a cost of RM450,000 to clear the sediments in the river.