Malaysia: Two more chemical waste dump sites found in Pasir Gudang

Rizalman Hammim New Straits Times 18 Mar 19;

JOHOR BARU: Two more rivers in Pasir Gudang have been found to have been used as dump sites for chemical waste.

In the first case, about 10 plastic barrels, believed to contain chemical substances, were found in Sungai Masai next to the Pasir Gudang Highway.

The discovery was made by residents of nearby housing estates on Sunday after the authorities came to the location to start cleaning works.

Pasir Gudang MCA chief Tan Tuan Peng said residents wanted to know why they were not informed of the existence of another source of pollution which could contribute to the current crisis.

“The public have the right to know. The authorities should not cover up these things,” he said.

Another dump site was found in Sungai Sembilang near Taman Tanjung Puteri Resort.

Seven barrels were found dumped in the river, which is about 500m from SMK Tanjung Puteri Resort.

The barrels were found dumped in a drain and under a bridge connecting Taman Tanjung Puteri and Taman Pasir Putih.

Ahmad Roh Ariffin, 51, who lives in the area, said the barrels were found on Thursday but no action was taken after the authorities were informed of the discovery.

“Liquid from the barrels have already flowed into the river and have resulted in a bad stench,” he said.

“We are very concerned because the smell is very bad.

“Some residents have complained of breathing difficulties and nausea,” he said

A check at the site showed that the authorities have put up yellow tape around the dump site.

Efforts to get comments from the authorities have proved unsuccessful and a press conference by Energy, Science, Technology, Environment and Climate Change Minister Yeo Bee Yin was cancelled at the last minute.

DoE to probe alleged chemical waste dumping in Masai, says Johor MB
Bernama New Straits Times 19 Mar 19;

JOHOR BARU: Johor Menteri Besar Datuk Osman Sapian has instructed the Department of Environment (DoE) to investigate several alleged cases of dumping of chemical waste in the Masai area.

“Until a complete report is obtained from DoE, the area should be entirely closed for the clean-up and investigation to be carried out.

“If it’s true that irresponsible people have dumped effluents illegally, strict action will be taken against them,” he said in a statement here today.

Osman vowed that he will never allow a repeat of the chemical waste disaster because the people’s lives and safety are at stake.

“I urge the people to keep away from the area and abide by the safety regulations,” he said.

Yesterday, several blue barrels believed to be used as containers of chemical effluents were found near Sungai Sembilang, behind Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan Taman Tanjung Puteri Resort.

The school is one of hundreds in the state closed following the spread of toxic fumes emanating from chemical waste dumped into Sungai Kim Kim recently. -- BERNAMA

More dumpsites found
mohd farhaan shah, zazali musa, and venesa devi The Star 19 Mar 19;

PASIR GUDANG: While the autho­ri­ties have their hands full cleaning up the contaminated Sungai Kim Kim, two new dumpsites have been found along Sungai Masai and Sungai Semilang.

It is learnt that the authorities who were notified of the discovery at Sungai Masai on Sunday promptly went to the location along the Pasir Gudang Highway heading towards Johor Baru.

According to sources, more than 10 blue-coloured plastic barrels, believed to contain chemical substance, were collected from Sungai Masai, one of the main waterways here.

Checks on the river, which is about 18km away from Sungai Kim Kim, showed that it flows straight into the Johor Straits bordering Singapore.

This river is a mere 2km from Sungai Kim Kim, where the chemical pollution around the area – which came to light earlier this month – has sickened more than 4,000 people.

The discovery is also just 500m away from SMK Tanjung Puteri Resort, one of the 111 schools ordered closed since last Wednesday due to the toxic fumes coming from the river.

The barrels were found dumped at a drain and underneath a bridge connecting Taman Tanjung Puteri and Taman Pasir Putih.

A resident, Ahmad Roh Ariffin, 51, claimed that the liquid from the barrels had seeped into the river, resulting in a terrible stench.

“We found the barrels last Thursday and informed the authorities about them, but there has been no action so far.

“We are worried because the smell is really bad and there are some residents who complain of breathing difficulty and nausea,” he added.

Yesterday, two police personnel arrived at the scene to place a barricade around the area to bar the media and public from going near the site.

The Star had reported that there were new signs of other waste dumping sites within a 5km radius of Sungai Kim Kim.

In a statement last night, Johor Mentri Besar Datuk Osman Sapian urged the public to refrain from going to the two newly found illegal dumpsites near Sungai Masai and Sungai Semilang.

The Kempas assemblyman said he had directed the state Depart­ment of Environment (DOE) to investigate the reports immediately.

“I am seriously looking at the reports and complaints about se­ve­ral chemical dumpsites in Masai.

“I have instructed security agencies such as the Fire and Rescue Department and police to close off the two areas,” he said.

Pending a full report by DOE, the areas will be closed off until cleaning, control and investigation have been done, he added.

Malaysian Nature Society vice-­president Vincent Chow said he was not surprised with the latest developments and the possibility of more dumpsites being uncovered.

“The authorities, especially the state government, should conduct thorough checks in all the districts in Johor because illegal dumping has been going on for a long time,” he said.

‘Use licensed contractors to clean up’
mohd farhaan shah, zazali musa, and venesa devi The Star 19 Mar 19;

JOHOR BARU: It costs between RM600 and RM2,500 per metric tonne for companies to properly dispose of chemical waste with legitimate contractors, said the technical director of the main contractor involved in the cleaning up process of Sungai Kim Kim, N. Shanker.

“The charges depend on many factors including how dangerous the discharge is to the environment.

“We need to analyse many things in the lab before we arrive at the right cost to charge the company.

“It includes whether the material is organic or inorganic or if it contains any carcinogen (cancer-causing substance),” he said yesterday.

“We have to also collect these substances from the companies as these could only be transported with proper licensed vehicles and not any ordinary lorries,” he added.Meanwhile, Johor Solid Waste Management and Public Cleaning Corporation (SWCorp) director Cairul Hisham Jalaluddin said companies would have to pay about RM50 to RM70 for each tonne of waste sent to the nine sanitary landfills throughout the state.

“Some companies, unwilling to pay the cost, chose to take the easy way by conveniently discarding the waste illegally,” he added.

Asked if there was a cap to the amount of waste that the companies could send to the landfills each day, Cairul said there was no limit and all waste – except chemical waste – could be sent to the landfills.

The Star has reported that solid waste, mainly from construction, was being dumped within a 5km radius of Sungai Kim Kim and one of the discarded items sported the name of a major chemical-producing company.

More than a dozen other sites have been discovered and the authorities are looking for more sites as they widen their checks around the river.

Some houses along the river have also been turned into possible “landing points” for illicit chemical dumping and house owners are allegedly paid for each lorry load.