GEORGE TOWN - A contractor has been tasked to clean up thousands of dead fish along the Sungai Kerian riverbank near the Ampang Jajar water gate.
Drainage and Irrigation Department (DID) South Seberang Prai district engineer Zahid Zainal Abidin said the process would take a few days.
"The contractor started the work this morning," he said when contacted by The Star yesterday
It was reported yesterday that the fish, comprising mostly of ikan duri, ikan moyong and prawns, were first found in small numbers belly up on Tuesday. However, by Thursday, they numbered in the thousands.
Zahid said the DID has ruled out claims by the public that the fish and prawns died due to changes in water salinity.
"Sungai Kerian flows across Perak and Penang. The water in the Perak side consists of fresh water while the Penang side contains a mixture of fresh and salt water.
"However, we have ruled out this reason as the cause for the deaths," he said.
Zahid said the state's Department of Environment took water samples and samples of the dead fish on Thursday for further testing and a report would be ready in a month's time.
State Health Department director Datuk Dr Zailan Adnan said his department was also checking whether the fish could cause any side effect on humans if consumed.
"I can only comment further after the report is out," she said.
Meanwhile, Penang Agriculture, Agro-based Industry, Rural Development and Health Committee chairman Dr Afif Bahardin said he had instructed the state Fisheries Department to investigate the river's condition.