Johor's struggle with pollution

Murky waters worry Johor residents

Singapore gets some of its raw water from the Johor River. Recent reports of contamination has sparked concerns over the quality of the water. The Straits Times traverses the river to find out what contributes to the pollution.
Rubbish along the banks of Johor River. Recent incidents have sparked concerns about water pollution in the river, which flows 80km from Sayong Pinang in Kota Tinggi in the north to the river mouth in Teluk Sengat, in Johor Baru, in the south. SAJ Ra
The Sunday Times sets off from a jetty in Kampung Sungai Telor, Kota Tinggi, and travels 8km downstream to Singapore PUB's Johor River Waterworks. ST PHOTO: KELVIN CHNG
Rubbish along the banks of Johor River. Recent incidents have sparked concerns about water pollution in the river, which flows 80km from Sayong Pinang in Kota Tinggi in the north to the river mouth in Teluk Sengat, in Johor Baru, in the south. SAJ Ra
SAJ Ranhill's office in Kota Tinggi. The water utility company is in charge of managing and maintaining the water supply in the Johor state's rivers, including Johor River. The company says that it ensures that its water is clean and safe to use.ST PHOTO: KELVIN CHNG
Rubbish along the banks of Johor River. Recent incidents have sparked concerns about water pollution in the river, which flows 80km from Sayong Pinang in Kota Tinggi in the north to the river mouth in Teluk Sengat, in Johor Baru, in the south. SAJ Ra
One of the vegetable farms along the Johor River which uses chicken manure as fertiliser. When it rains, the fertiliser which contains ammonia flows into the river, turning it brown and polluting it.ST PHOTO: KELVIN CHNG
Rubbish along the banks of Johor River. Recent incidents have sparked concerns about water pollution in the river, which flows 80km from Sayong Pinang in Kota Tinggi in the north to the river mouth in Teluk Sengat, in Johor Baru, in the south. SAJ Ra
Rubbish along the banks of Johor River. Recent incidents have sparked concerns about water pollution in the river, which flows 80km from Sayong Pinang in Kota Tinggi in the north to the river mouth in Teluk Sengat, in Johor Baru, in the south.ST PHOTO: KELVIN CHNG
Rubbish along the banks of Johor River. Recent incidents have sparked concerns about water pollution in the river, which flows 80km from Sayong Pinang in Kota Tinggi in the north to the river mouth in Teluk Sengat, in Johor Baru, in the south. SAJ Ra
A dam across Johor River. The rivers in Malaysia's southernmost state of Johor, including Johor River, supply raw water to millions of people in the state as well as neighbouring Singapore.ST PHOTO: KELVIN CHNG

The main culprits are poultry farms, oil-palm plantation mills and rubbish disposal sites, a visit by Insight finds.

For years, Johor resident Ivan Rajuardi has put up with an oppressive stench drifting from a chicken farm and fertiliser factory next to his home.

Every evening when the south-easterly wind blows its fiercest, he shuts his doors and windows tight and sprays air freshener throughout his house in Kampung Murni Jaya, in Kluang district.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on June 23, 2019, with the headline ' Murky waters worry Johor residents'. Print Edition | Subscribe