THE year started on an upbeat note for the Kuala Langat district when it was upgraded to a municipality on March 1 after a 13-year wait.
Sepang district officer Mohammad Zain A. Hamid, who was Kuala Langat District Council president during that time, said he hoped that with the new status, there would be reform in mindset with regard to rubbish management, specifically littering and illegal dumping.
While Kuala Langat is known for popular attractions in Bukit Jugra, Morib beach and historical heritage sites, the areas of Teluk Panglima Garang, Jenjarom and Banting are infamous for fly tipping and environmental issues.
Kuala Langat Municipal Council (MPKL) public relations and corporate unit head Mohammad Kamal Mohd Ramlan said 143 illegal dumping cases had been reported from 2019.
The cost to dispose of the waste in 2020 amounted to RM30,000.
The figure would have been higher if MPKL had not resorted to using its trucks and manpower to clear the dumpsites.
StarMetro highlighted an incident in Kampung Olak Lempit, Banting in August where industrial and construction wastes were discarded on agricultural land.
Pungent smell permeating the area gave the culprits away.
Officers from MPKL and Kuala Langat Land and Mines Office subsequently found that water in a drain had turned black, believed to have been caused by chemical substances traced to the site.
The culprits were issued two notices under the Rubbish Collection, Disposal and Discharge MPKL 2007 by-law for illegal dumping of waste.
Locals, however, were not appeased, fearing that toxic chemicals leaking underground would result in the land being infertile.
In the same month, less than 10km away, residents of Taman Bakti questioned why a paper factory was allowed to operate 40m from their housing area.
Parents who had children studying at SR Agama Integrasi Sungai Manggis and Sekolah Agama Menengah Tinggi Sungai Manggis, both within 150m radius of the factory, were perplexed as acrid smell emanated from the industrial facility.
The country was in the recovery movement control order stage then and schools had reopened.
The report in StarMetro caught the attention of MPKL president Datuk Amirul Azizan Abd Rahim who led a joint operation to the factory.
Environment Minister Datuk Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man directed the Environment Department (DOE) to investigate the matter as well.
The issue was also raised by Sijangkang assemblyman Datuk Dr Ahmad Yunus Hairi at the Selangor state assembly on Nov 3.
In this case, the distance between industrial plants and housing areas became a subject of debate.
The Kuala Langat Local Plan 2030 stated that heavy industries should be sited 500m from settlements, along with 70% green buffer.
However, Selangor local government, land transport and new village development committee chairman Ng Sze Han said a new local plan for 2035 would be issued and the distance would be revised to 300m.
Residents measured the distance from the housing area to the factory’s fence and they found it was a mere 40m.
A statement by DOE indicated a shorter 30m distance.
Kuala Langat Environmental Action Organisation (PTASKL) secretary Pua Lay Peng had said that according to environmental experts, the distance should be revised to at least one kilometre.
She hoped that the authorities would review these assessments.
Meanwhile, surveillance efforts by the authorities revealed that many factory owners did not hire proper waste disposal companies to manage their rubbish. This explains why fly tipping is rife.
Following a committee meeting, MPKL has made it compulsory for all manufacturers and factory owners to appoint KDEB Waste Management to manage the disposal of solid and bulk wastes.
Those who do not comply will have their licences suspended.
PTASKL chairman Tan Ching Heng commended MPKL on the positive move to address illegal dumping which has plagued the municipality for years.
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