Open burning at illegal site causes discomfort to Kg Sungai Kertas residents

THE operator of an illegal dumpsite in Kampung Sungai Kertas, Ulu Yam is openly defying authorities by not only continuing to dump garbage at the site but also burning the rubbish there.

Residents are perplexed how the operator is allowed to continue with his illegal activities.

They also complain that they are suffering from breathing problems caused by the thick black smoke.

The fire has been burning for about five days and the Fire and Rescue Department is finding it difficult to put it out completely due to the steep slope and depth of the rubbish mound.

Batu Caves assemblyman Amirudin Shari said the authorities did not realise the operator had continued running the illegal dumpsite until the residents noticed the fire and alerted the fire department and local council.

“We barricaded the dumpsite six months ago but the operator must have broken it down and entered the site without permission.

“Now, our concern is to put out the fire to ensure that schoolchildren from the schools nearby are not exposed for too long to the hazardous smoke,” he said during a visit to Kampung Sungai Kertas with Selayang Municipal Council (MPS) acting president Mohd Jaid Ehsan, representatives from the Gombak Land Office, Tenaga Nasional Berhad, Syarikat Bekalan Air Selangor (Syabas) and Environment Depart-ment.

Amirudin said some of the schoolchildren had started vomiting, having headaches and difficulty breathing and were taken to the hospital.

“If the smoke gets worse, we will urge the two schools nearby to stop the school sessions and we will distribute masks to the students.

The schools, SK and SMK Sungai Kertas, are located about 500m to a kilometre from the illegal dumpsite.

Mohd Jaid said MPS would station its enforcement officers at the site daily until the end of this month to prevent the operator and garbage trucks from dumping waste there.

“We will also work with the Gombak Land Office to solve this issue. Four land owners here are involved but only about 0.5ha is used for the dumpsite,” he added.

Bandar Baru Selayang Fire and Rescue Department chief Zakaria Aini said the cause of fire had not been identified.

“We have difficulty putting out the fire because the rubbish needs to be dug up and we need help from Syabas and MPS to send water here,” he said, adding that it took 15 men to put out a portion of the fire.

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