Residents want rubbish burning, stench solved while farm operator eyes new resort on part of site in Klang
RUBBISH such as renovation debris, shredded industrial rubber and plastic drums floating on the surface of a man-made lake in Sementa, Klang is a hard-to-miss pollution problem.
The waste sits on approximately 0.6ha of a large lake at Lot 43206, which is known as Perpat Resort Agro Farm, located off Jalan Klang Perdana.
Anglers are known to visit the farm for recreational fishing.
Residents living nearby as well as those working at Klang Rakan Muda Complex, bordering the 10.8ha agro farm, are complaining about discomfort due to acrid smell of smoke.
Residents claim they smell smoke in the wee hours of the morning coming from the illegal dumpsite within the farm.
The smoke is causing breathing difficulties and coughing bouts among residents.
The pollution problem is some 13km from the Klang Municipal Council (MPK) headquarters.
A man in his 70s, who did not want to be named, said it was time the authorities did something to stop rubbish burning at the dumpsite as nearby residents were sick of having to put up with the choking smell which was affecting their health.
He added, “The authorities, be it MPK or Selangor Department of Environment (DOE), must get the landowner to remove rubbish dumped at the lake because over time, shredded industrial rubber bits leach chemicals and poison ground water.”
All those who spoke to StarMetro declined to give their names for fear of harassment.
MPK’s acting deputy president who also oversees the Environmental Services Department Zaireezal Ahmad Zainuddin said the illegal dumpsite was situated on Federal Government land that had been leased out.
He said the rubbish-filled lake was a huge environmental and health hazard.
“Initial findings show that the owner has a temporary occupational status (TOL),” he said.
“Renovation debris or shredded industrial rubber should not be thrown into the lake as these will contaminate the soil and groundwater.”
Zaireezal added that MPK and Selangor DOE carried out a joint operation by cordoning off the entrance to the site following complaints from locals around Jalan Klang Perdana.
“Third party contractors are being hired to dump waste into the lake,” he said.
“Rubbish lorries avoid going to Jeram landfill in Kuala Selangor and are dumping waste in areas that are more convenient.”
Zaireezal said MPK had carried out periodic enforcement to prevent illegal dumping at areas off Jalan Klang Perdana.
“Our enforcement team has carried out surveillance operations.
“We were successful in nabbing four lorry drivers red-handed as they were dumping waste at Lot 43205 and 43206 on Dec 2, 17 and 21 in 2022. Compounds of RM1,996 each, were issued”.
“In February 2023, three lorries were seized with total compounds of RM5,124 issued.
“Enforcement staff were put on two shifts from 8am to 4pm and 4pm to midnight, on a rotation basis, to catch lorry drivers coming into Sementa with rubbish, in an effort to end open burning,” he added.
Zaireezal said that MPK would take action against the landowner for wrongful use of the land because the area was meant for recreational purposes and the lake was meant for fishing activities.
He said Notice E under the Town and Country Planning Act, 1976 would be issued to the landowner to remove rubbish from the lake to prevent soil contamination.
“At the moment, there is no application for planning approval for any building,” he said.
MPK Environmental Services Department assistant enforcement officer Mohd Nizam Mohtar, 49, said rubbish burning incidents in August were done by scavengers looking for copper wires from rubber cables.
Mohd Nizam, who led a team of three enforcement officers M. Arif, 41, N. Syafiq Firhat, 35 and Aghar Muhamad, 52, to carry out surveillance, said illegal dumping activities had ceased due to constant surveillance.
Perpat Resort Agro Farm chief executive officer of Datuk Ahmad Murad Khalib, 56, said the land had been leased to him.
“I plan to build a banquet hall, public parking area and event space on part of the lake that has been filled with rubbish.
“I do not plan to remove the rubbish in the lake and will submit plans to MPK’s Planning Department for the project to build a resort to go ahead,” he said.
“It is now being topped up with earth. The waste beneath is contained in that spot and will not flow out.”
Ahmad Murad said smoke from rubbish burning was caused by scavengers who had trespassed onto his land in search of copper wires.
“It does not happen now as I have taken steps to hire people to watch over the area,” he said.
However, Zaireezal said MPK had not given approval for earth works to fill up the man-made lake.
Klang Consumer Association president Devadass Anjan said MPK and Selangor DOE must not compromise with illegal dumping of waste or open burning as such irresponsible action should be handled with full force of the law.
“Crucial groundwater sources can be contaminated because of this dumpsite and noxious gas is released in the air when rubbish is deliberately burned,” he said.
Devadass said there were short-term and long-term effects as a result of such acts on human and animal health.
“The authorities must compel the landowner to remove the rubbish because it can leach contaminants into the water table,” he said.
“If this happens, it will cost the government an exorbitant amount to clean it up.”
Selangor DOE has been reached for comments but no reply was received at press time.