SUNGAI PETANI: The irresponsible behaviour of a small group of community members has led to the creation of about 15 illegal dump sites in the mangrove forest areas along Sungai Merbok here.

Kuala Muda district officer Datuk Abdul Gafar Yahya expressed concern over these actions, which not only pollute the environment but also potentially harm the ecosystem and threaten marine life, a crucial source of livelihood for small-scale fishermen.

“Based on monitoring, there are about 15 illegal dump sites along Sungai Merbok.

“Most of the waste comprises daily household refuse, including plastics, and this issue has persisted for a long time, over 50 years,” he told reporters after inspecting the illegal dump sites along the river today.

He explained that efforts had been made to raise awareness among the local community to stop illegal dumping, but the problem still persists.

According to Abdul Gafar, there are dozens of mangrove species along the river that have the potential to attract tourists, and the community should realise that dumping garbage there spoils the scenery.

He added that the affected areas were not under the maintenance jurisdiction of local authorities, and his office would identify suitable measures to address the issue.

Abdul Gafar said he plans to meet with local leaders and organise awareness programmes with the community soon as part of efforts to improve the area.

“This behaviour needs to change. Improperly managed waste not only pollutes the environment but also leads to various other problems.

“The year 2025 is Visit Kedah Year, and it would be a shame if this habit of illegal dumping is not changed,” he said.