Heavier fines mooted for violating environmental laws

SPOT checks conducted at construction sites in the state have shown that at least 85% of contractors do not comply with the Erosion and Sedimentation Control Plan (ESCP).

State public works, utilities and flood mitigation committee chairman Zairil Khir Johari said the ESCP serves to prevent landslides and the pollution of rivers.

“Since checks began in 2017,77 construction sites were found to be in violation of ESCP.

“This year alone, site checks revealed that 55 out of 66 sites did not comply with ESCP.

“Last year, all 18 sites checked had ignored the plan completely while in 2017, four out of six were in violation of it, ” he said in his winding-up speech at the state assembly.

Zairil said stronger penalties were needed for contractors who ignored the plan.

“In Selangor, fines for ESCP violations range from RM5,000 to RM250,000, as opposed to Penang where fines are as low as RM250.

“There (in Selangor), 12 local councils had collected close to RM500,000 a year from such fines, which seem to have had a strong impact on the developers since they were introduced in 2005.

“We should follow this example and amend the bylaws of our two local councils to raise fines to the same level, ” he said.

Zairil said a proposal would be tabled for deliberation at the state executive council before being made into state law.

“The state government committee on ESCP has proposed a special unit in each city council to enforce this law, ” he said, warning developers and consultant engineers that heavy fines await them if they do not comply.

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