PETALING JAYA: Tonnes of plastic waste from overseas are quickly ferried to secluded areas where the trash is burnt in makeshift illegal factories, and this is big business, claimed pro-green activist Pua Lay Pheng.
The Kuala Langat Environmental Action Association secretary constantly receives information that international smugglers pay a huge amount of money to ferry plastic waste to illegal waste disposal factories, including those in her area of Jenjarom in Selangor.
She has been at the forefront of highlighting the issue for over two years.
“We found that we were surrounded by illegal plastic waste recycling factories, but initially, Port Klang, West Port and Telok Gong were the centres of this type of factories.
“They are now spreading to Kuala Langat, Meru, Kapar, Kampung Jawa, Semenyih, Nilai, Seremban, Port Dickson, Perak and Kedah. Kuantan may be their next target.
“It (the activity) is focused in coastal areas, especially near ports,” she said yesterday.
She claimed that the international syndicates would pay from RM2,000 to more than RM6,000 to have the waste brought to various places.
“All their targets are near Chinese villages with industrial and plantation areas that have cheap rentals,” she added.
Pua said residents had complained about the fumes emitting from these illegal factories.
“After 10pm, they start to operate and white fumes would be discharged.
“Many complained of coughs, allergic reactions, lethargy and some admitted to hospital,” she said.
She claimed that some of the illegal factories had their own incinerators and would simply burn the plastic waste.
She added that plastic that could not be recycled would be dumped in the rivers.
“I know it’s very hard to monitor, but we need stricter enforcement.
“The real question is, who will be responsible for all this? Many of our activist friends have lodged reports with the authorities,” she said.