Plastic bags in crocs stomach raises inconvenient truth of river pollution
11 month ago, 07-Jun-2022
The 800-kg crocodile was caught and disembowelled by authorities.
MIRI (June 7): No human traces were found in a 800-kg crocodile caught at Sungai Nyabut, Telaga Air on May 26 for allegedly attacking a seven-year-old boy. Instead, after the disembowling process, indigestible items and especially plastic packages were found in the reptiles stomach.
This has raised the issue of river pollution which has often been overlooked.
According to Malaysian Nature Society (MNS) Miri vice chairman Musa Musbah, the discovery of plastic items in the crocodiles stomach is proof of our ignorance towards environmental sustainability and the chain reaction in the ecosystem.
He said indiscriminate disposal of rubbish into the river, particularly by those who live in its vicinity, could be due to the inaccessibility of public rubbish disposal.
The people have perception that river may be the easiest way to dispose rubbish.
However, as this persists, other living beings in the river such as the crocodiles, would in long run, know that there are food in the plastic packaging dumped into the river and consumed it out of hunger, he explained.
Unlike the old days when the river has plenty of marine life of different species, Musa observed, rivers in Sarawak are becoming too polluted to sustain good fish and various marine species.
The crocodile is the top chain feeder in the river. When they dont get enough food from nature, they turn to humans who come within its boundary, the environmentalist shared.
Reminiscing Miri River in the 1970s, Musa recalled, wild boars, wild deer and huge pythons could be easily spotted along the river bank.
The list included huge cat fish, betutu,prawn, tigerbard, ikan bulan, red snapper, kerapu fish and birds resting and singing, he added.
Recently, when I visited the river, it is now smelly, without fish jumping and birds singing. Worse, the river is now full of sediment with foreign objects that are not supposed to be there, he shared further.
Meanwhile, Miri City Caring Society chairman Karambir Singh told The Borneo Post that there is an urgent need for effective laws and enforcement to halt the degradation of our environment.
Seeing the recent pictures of plastic bags in the belly of a crocodile reminds me of pictures of turtles with plastic straw and plastic fork sticking out of their nostrils and also of birds which starved to death due to plastics in their stomachs.
While some of the pictures were way back more than 10 years ago, it is still happening and it is on our doorstep, he cautioned.
He stressed that micro plastics have now been found in the blood and lungs of human beings as plastic is already in our food chain.
There is now a hidden pandemic of plastics in our bodies and those of animals. This is an indication of severe medical issues yet to come, he warned.