MELAKA: A fire at an illegal dumpsite along the riverbank of Sungai Kelamak may have been deliberately caused by arsonists, according to an environmentalist.
Firemen are still fighting the fire, which is believed to have started on Thursday night.
Melaka Consumer Affairs and Environment Association chairman K. Murali Krishna claimed that the site was deliberately set on fire at about 7.15pm.
“It’s definitely an act to destroy evidence after various state government agencies visited the illegal dumpsite on Thursday following media reports on its existence.
“I believe they waited until the breaking of fast to start the fire, hoping that the firemen would not be able to come immediately to douse it,” Murali said.
The Star Online on Wednesday highlighted news about piles of hazardous factory waste along the banks of Sungai Kelemak here.The report also quoted Murali as saying that residents living near the site had spotted vehicles dumping rubbish there.
Used tyres and aerosol cans were also found strewn all over the site.
Murali said yesterday that officers from various agencies, including the state Department of Environment, Health Department, Alor Gajah Municipal Council and the district office visited the site following the Star Online report.
State Housing, Local Government and Environment Committee chairman Datuk Tey Kok Kiew said illegal dumping continued to take place despite the state having various services to properly dispose waste.
Those found guilty, he said, would face action under Section 71(2) of the Solid
Waste and Public Cleansing Management Act 2007 (Act 672), which carries a minimum fine of RM10,000 and a maximum fine of RM100,000, or a jail term of six months to five years.
“The authorities took punitive action against two individuals in March for the same offence.
“More individuals will face charges soon,” he said.