: The country is expected to face critical water issues in the next 10 to 15 years if aggressive steps are not taken by the government and other relevant parties to protect the environment, said Pertubuhan Pelindung Khazanah Alam (Peka) Malaysia.
Its president Puan Sri Shariffa Sabrina Syed Akil said environmental issues such as logging and deforestation if left unresolved could damage and pollute rivers, causing a major impact on water resources.
She said the most important thing the government needed to do was to deal with forestry legislation and to ban forest clearing and logging activities in the Titiwangsa Range, which serves as an important water catchment area.
"If these tree and forest clearing activities are left unchecked, we are concerned that they will affect the streams that flow into the main river.
"It also affects the main river which will become shallow due to erosion in the area and will have a major impact on water resources," she told Bernama in Ayer Keroh here yesterday.
Earlier, Shariffa Sabrina delivered a talk on water pollution and its implications in Malaysia, at a seminar which was officiated by Melaka Green Technology Corporation chief executive officer Datuk Dr Abu Bakar Mohamad Diah.
Shariffa Sabrina said protecting and taking care of the environment should also be a key agenda of the government to ensure the sustainability of forests and rivers for the benefit of future generations.
She said intense logging activities had caused rivers to become dirty, narrow and polluted, adding that some loggers did not follow the standard operating procedure (SOP) and did not provide buffer zones on river banks.
"Stern action must be taken and the authorities or agencies concerned should take this matter seriously, and review the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) report before giving the approval.
"We must save the rivers because we do not want to use underground water sources that could endanger the health of the people in the long run," she said.
She added that the adverse effects of large-scale use of groundwater will result in soil deposition forming layers of sediment, increasing fire cases, especially in the dry season as the water level is lowered due to extraction.
"It is also important to carry out chemical content analysis in used mining pools especially for carcinogenic content," she said.