PETALING JAYA: Housing and Local Government Minister Zuraida Kamaruddin (pic) came under fire for allegedly turning a deaf ear on concerns raised against incinerators.
The Kuala Lumpur Taknak Insinerator (KTI) movement expressed frustration with Zuraida and other heads of departments under the ministry for ignoring an invitation to a public forum and dialogue on Saturday (April 6) to hear fears of hidden dangers associated with incinerators.
The movement questioned how Zuraida drew the conclusion that waste-to-energy initiatives offered cleaner, more efficient and more economical alternatives to landfills, without listening to public concerns.
It claimed Zuraida's answer in Parliament that incinerators were less costly compared to landfills bordered on ignorance.
"Landfills cannot be phased out by incinerators as toxic ashes from incinerators need to be secured in landfills (anyway)," it said in a statement Friday (April 5).
KTI said this in response to Zuraida's recent comment in Parliament that it was more expensive keeping dumpsites because of increasing land prices, and that waste-to-energy alternatives offered a cleaner, efficient and more economical solution.
KTI expressed disappointment against the Pakatan Harapan-controlled ministry as it appeared to follow the previous Barisan Nasional administration's tendency in opting for easier and costly solutions in managing waste.
Questioning if Zuraida had visited the under-utilised Bukit Tagar sanitary landfill that was designed to manage waste for a period spanning one century, it said the minister should not waste ratepayers money on incinerators as even the scientific community had raised the alarm on the potentially grave health risk associated with toxic nano-particles produced during the combustion process.
KTI also expressed disappointment with ministry officials for not responding to its invitation to attend the forum on "Do We Need Incinerators" at 10am on Saturday at the Kuala Lumpur and Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall premises on Jalan Maharajalela, Kuala Lumpur, followed by a closed-door dialogue at 2pm.
The forum was held in response to the ministry's plan to build incinerators in various states.
KTI said it was unbecoming of authorities to waste ratepayers' money on solutions that may end up harming the people.
"It is more sustainable and cost-effective to convert waste into resources, rather than using incinerators that emit toxic nanoparticles that posed health risk," KTI said.
Renowned American chemist Dr Paul Connett would give a talk at the forum.
Dr Connett had said existing tools were not efficient in capturing nanoparticles, and that it posed untold threat to public health as toxic nanoparticles could penetrate cell membranes and directly enter bloodstream and tissues.
KTI said representatives from the ministry should attend the forum, so that they could make an informed decision.
Members of the public are invited to the forum to learn more about the much debated toxic emissions from incinerators.
"Malaysians must realise that waste management affect us all, as at the end of the day the cost of managing waste is borne by the taxpayers," KTI said.
"People must also bear the adverse effects. Therefore the onus is on the authorities to opt for a safer solution," it said.
Those attending the forum are advised to take the monorail, as the road leading to the venue would be closed from 6.30am to 2.45pm for the Tour de Langkawi event.