An unbearable situation

Noraini Minhat, 54, who lives in Jalan Tembikai, pinching her nose close when passing by the river where water from the treatment plant flows into.

JOHOR BARU: For the past three years, residents in Jalan Tembikai 26, Taman Kota Masai here have been putting up with a stench from a sewerage treatment plant nearby.

The plant is said to be still managed by Pasir Gudang Municipal Council (MPPG).

Residents in the area around the treatment plant said the smell was unbearable on days when the weather was hot.

“We keep our doors and windows closed all the time to keep the smell out but despite that, it wafts in.

“I have sealed the front windows and doors of my house to keep out the polluted air, ” said M. Murugiah, 64.

He said that he could see the water from the treatment plant, located about 100m from the houses, flowing into a nearby river which ran into Sungai Kim Kim, one of the most polluted rivers in Pasir Gudang.

Murugiah said the water, which was black in colour, often poured continuously from the plant directly into the river.

“We have complained to Pasir Gudang Municipal Council but so far no action has been taken, ” he lamented.

Another resident, Zulkifli Abd Rahman, 55, said besides the stench, they were also living in fear of the dengue menace because of the poor drainage system in the area.

I have sealed the front windows and doors of my house to keep out the polluted air."I have sealed the front windows and doors of my house to keep out the polluted air." - M. Murugiah

“When it rains, the area becomes flooded and the water takes time to subside, making this an ideal site for Aedes mosquitoes to breed.

“Twelve dengue cases were recorded in Jalan Tembikai so far this month.

“The drainage system has not been upgraded in 20 years, ” he said.

He added that it was pointless to conduct fogging operations every week if the core problem was not resolved.

Tebrau MP Steven Choong said he was aware of the problems residents faced and had notified MPPG.

“The council said it would look into the matter. It said that under an agreement with the previous government, MPPG and Johor Baru City Council (MBJB) were supposed to hand over the management of all treatment plants to Indah Water Konsortium Sdn Bhd (IWK).

“This was to have been done in stages in the first quarter of this year but it had been extended by the National Water Service Commission to the end of June 30, ” he said.

Choong hoped the plants would be handed over to IWK to manage soon.

“If nothing is done soon to help the residents, I plan to bring this matter up to Environment Minister Datuk Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man, ” he added.

According to Choong, the agreement to transfer sewerage plant management was signed by former water, land and natural resources minister Datuk Dr Xavier Jayakumar and former Johor mentri besar Datuk Dr Sahruddin Jamal in October last year, involving 206 sewerage treatment plants in areas under MPPG and MBJB.

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