Crackdown on illegal factory

Bad for health: The illegal coal processing site in Jalan Kampung Gajah, Butterworth. (Right) Lee showing the coal dust that is coming from the illegal coal processing site. — ZHAFARAN NASIB/The Star

BUTTERWORTH: Every morning for the past one week, residents in Jalan Kampung Gajah woke up to find their houses and cars covered with a layer of thick black dust.

Car dealer Lee Chun Keong, 50, said trucks laden with coal had been making trips in and out of a nearby coal storage yard daily.

“I believe the coal is from a nearby port, and lorries make about 100 trips daily.

“I have to wash my cars every morning because all of them are covered with thick black dust. Our living rooms, too, are not spared.

“My family members have also complained of skin irritation,” he told reporters yesterday.

Reports have been lodged with the Seberang Prai Municipal Council (MPSP) and upon investigation, it was revealed that an old bus depot had been turned into a coal storage yard with some 400 tonnes of coal, believed to be from Russia, being kept there.

A stop-work order under Section 70A of the Drainage and Building Act 1974 has been issued to the landowner to cease all operations and clear all the coal within 14 days as there was no prior approval for the coal storage yard.

Lee showing the coal dust that is coming from the illegal coal processing site. —ZHAFARAN NASIB/The Star

Bagan Jermal assemblyman Soon Lip Chee, who visited the yard, said several reports were filed against the operator before the authorities sprang into action.

“The residents complained about their houses being filled with thick black dust, as well as their laundry.

“This is not only an environmental pollution, but also a health hazard,” he said.

Also present were MPSP councillors Khong Chee Seong and K. Kumaran.


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