State of water environmental issues
The Interim Marine Water Quality standards (IMWQS) have been used as the benchmark for the marine monitoring program in 1978 for Peninsular Malaysia and in 1985 for Sabah and Sarawak.
A total of 1,035 samples from 229 monitoring stations were analyzed in 2006. As in previous years, the main contaminants of the coastal waters of all States that exceeded the IMWQS were total suspended solids (75%), Escherichia coli (55%) and oil and grease (35%). Sources of the total suspended solids are agricultural activities, tourism development, coastal reclamation, logging and road construction. Sources of the E. coli are untreated or partially treated domestic and animal wastes. Sources of oil and grease are discharges from vessels such as tank clearing, deballasting, bilges and bunkering, and leakages and disposal of engine oil from ferries and boats.
Overall comparison showed an increase in E. coli, mercury and arsenic levels in marine waters and a decrease in total suspended solids, oil and grease, copper, lead, cadmium and total chromium in 2006 compared to the previous year.
The islands monitored are categorized as development islands, resort islands, marine park islands and protected islands. A total of 344 samples were collected and analyzed. The major pollutants identified in island marine waters were total suspended solids, E. coli and oil and grease.