‘Villagers lack proper waste disposal methods’


Muhammad Alif looking at a burnt tree behind his house at Kampung Pekajang, Gelang Patah.

An environmental non-governmental organisation is calling for state government intervention at Tanjung Kupang, following a peat fire incident in Kampung Pekajang along Jalan Tanjung Kupang, Iskandar Puteri.

Kelab Alami manager Muhammad Irfan Yazid said the incident on Feb 27 saw 2.4ha of land destroyed by fire.

He added that the lack of proper waste disposal methods in the village had resulted in the villagers resorting to open burning to get rid of their trash.

“Rubbish collectors do not go to the village, so the villagers burn their waste.

“I hope that the government can help the villagers here by implementing a proper way of disposing waste so that we can continue protecting the environment from future harm, ” he said when met at the village.

Muhammad Irfan hoped that the 2019 forest fire incident would be a lesson for the villagers in the area.

“The fire started because of open burning activities and after conditions were safe, we went into the forest to conduct research on animal habitats that had been destroyed by the fire.

Muhammad Irfan says villagers use open burning as a way to dispose of their rubbish.Muhammad Irfan says villagers use open burning as a way to dispose of their rubbish.

“Our findings revealed that there were animal footprints, from monkeys to wild boars and even a tiger, showing that they fled from the area, ” he said, adding that other animals like snakes were not so lucky.

A landowner in Kampung Pekajang, Norazhar Ibrahim, 57, said he was shocked to learn that his land had been destroyed in the Feb 27 fire.

“This land belongs to my late parents and I have been entrusted to take care of it.

“I was frustrated after hearing about the incident and I hope that the villagers will be more careful, especially during the dry season, ” he said, adding that the fire was believed to have originated from a land nearby whose owner was clearing the site for a chilli fertigation project.

Meanwhile, StarMetro met with SMK Tanjung Adang student Muhammad Alif Ahim, 17, who shared his experience during the August 2019 incident that caused his school to be temporarily shut down because of the fire.

“I was in Form 3 when the incident occurred and the fire spread to the forest behind the school, and students had difficulty breathing.

“We were instructed to wear a face mask when coming to school because of the thick smoke.

Norazhar says land belonging to his late parents was destroyed in the Feb 27 fire.Norazhar says land belonging to his late parents was destroyed in the Feb 27 fire.

“The burnt smell was still there a week after the fire had been put out, ” he said. When contacted, Solid Waste Management and Public Cleansing Corporation Sdn Bhd (SWCorp) Johor director Cairul Hisham Jalaluddin said Kampung Pekajang in Tanjung Adang was one of the untaxed villages under Iskandar Puteri City Council’s (MBIP) jurisdiction.

“This means that there is no rubbish collection service provided in the area by SWCorp through the handover of service by MBIP, ” he said.

He explained that according to Rule 10 of the Solid Waste and Public Cleansing Management (Scheme for Household Solid Waste and Solid Waste Similar to Household Solid Waste) Regulations 2011, landowners who do not have waste collection service should bury their waste and failure to comply would result in a maximum fine of RM1,000.

“The villagers can also hire a waste management contractor registered with the National Solid Waste Management Department to dispose of their waste, ” he added.

A huge forest fire broke out in Kampung Pekajang in August 2019, destroying about 98ha of land and 79 firemen worked non-stop for more than a week to put out the fire.

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Open Burning , Johor

   

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