Malaysia — SEVERAL local authorities have agreed to come together to tackle the on-going illegal dumping problem and put an end to peat fires at the Sungai Kelang riverbank in Taman Sri Manja in PJS3, Petaling Jaya.
On April 24, StarMetro, visited the illegal dumpsite with representatives from the Petaling Jaya Municipal Council (MBPJ) and councillors, Taman Medan assemblyman Haniza Talha, Petaling District land office, Department of Environment (DOE), Selangor Water Management Authority (LUAS), Selangor Drainage and Irrigation Department (DID) and Penchala fire station.
The illegal dumping of waste and the peat fire issue requires the joint cooperation of all parties to tackle the matter and 30 representatives from the various agencies, were positive about resolving the issues together.
Haniza said she was glad that all parties were serious in handling the issue and hoped the agencies involved would support the other, and resolve the matter quickly, to ease residents worries.
Smoke from the peat fire irritates the eyes and residents in Taman Sri Manja and Taman Medan are suffering.
With the continuous burning and the release of toxic gas, I fear for their health, she said.
Haniza said she would write to the land office to declare the peat fire situation as a natural disaster.
The peat fire has not stopped since early March and this has led to health complications. This is serious matter and we need to move fast, she said.
Haniza said the land office would need to ascertain the status of the land at the riverbank as some occupants had Temporary Operating Licence (TOL).
We want to clear the riverbank from all illegal activities and to do so, we need to be sure of the land status, she said.
The fire station together with DOE, she said, would conduct a test on the gas emitted from the peat fire.
Thirdly, a request has been made to DID to place barriers at the illegal dump site, to prevent further activity.
We hope 5,000kg boulders will be placed at the entrance to the dump site, she said adding that Penchala fire station chief Zaidi Ahtan said his station had put out fires at the PJS3 site 15 times since January.
Sometimes it takes 24 hours to put out the peat fire and it is dangerous.
The situation is bad and has affected the health of some of his officers.
Each time when we get a call, we rush to the site and put out the fire. Three of my firefighters were admitted in the hospital due to the side effects of over inhaling smoke from the peat fire.
We are not complaining but we hope the issue is tackled soon, otherwise we will be wasting our resources, said Zaidi.
How it started
The riverbank at Taman Sri Manja, Petaling Jaya has been subject to continous peat fire since March.
In February, StarMetro reported that parts of the riverbank at PJS3 and PJS4 was, for over a decade, used as an illegal dumping ground for construction waste.