Probe into Klang’s industrial pollution (26.6.15)

Serious threat: A farmer showing the stream of black liquid which is believed to be aluminium dross at Jalan Haji Abdul Manan in north Klang. (Photo: The Star)

Serious threat: A farmer showing the stream of black liquid which is believed to be aluminium dross at Jalan Haji Abdul Manan in north Klang. (Photo: The Star)

The Selangor Department of the Environment (DOE) is investigating complaints of industrial pollution and irresponsible dumping of hazardous waste from an industrial plant in Jalan Haji Abdul Manan off Jalan Meru in north Klang.

State DOE director Siti Zaleha Ibrahim said the department had opened investigation papers on the case as the wanton dumping of hazardous chemicals is a serious issue.

“Our officers will collect samples for laboratory tests,” she said.

This investigation follows a report lodged by the Consumer Association of Klang.

Its president Devadass Anjan said the association received complaints that an aluminium industrial plant had been crushing aluminium dross in the open.

Aluminium dross is waste material formed during the aluminium melting process and poses a health risk to people and the environment.

“Chemicals from the aluminium dross are one of the worst toxic pollutants.

“Serious medical conditions could result including cancer.

Klang Consumer Association president Devadass Anjan showing the aluminium dross crumbs samples he collected from along the perimeter fence of the industrial plant at the Department of Environment office at Shah Alam. SAMUEL ONG / THE STAR, 22ND JUNE 2015.

Devadass showing the alumonium dross crumbs samples he collected from the perimeter fence of the industrial plant.- Photos by  RICKY LAI

“DOE must act speedily to stop such irresponsible practices that can harm people’s health,” added Devadass.

DOE’s Environmental Control officers Dasuki Loo and Nor Faizura Mohd Ali recorded the complaint in a closed-door meeting with Dass at their Shah Alam office in Section 9 earlier this week.

Devadass also provided samples of contaminated water and crumbs of aluminium dross obtained from the site.

“There was a strong ammonia smell in the area. I even noticed the water in the earth-cut drain was black. I saw several grey crumbs strewn outside the fence of the industrial plant. I believe its aluminium dross,” he said.

Devadass also said that some of the oil palm trees had turned brown.

“DOE must act with speed to take soil and water samples and even collect the crumbs.

“If it is true that the industrial plant is putting the aluminium dross into the ground to avoid sending it to a secured landfill, they should be punished severely as groundwater contamination is involved.”

Believe to be crumbs of aluminium dross and sample of the blackish water from the stream.

A sample of the black water from the stream.

“Our association wants DOE to make the findings of the investigation public,” he said.

Under the Environmental Quality Act 1974 (Amendments January 2006) Section 34B, the depositing or disposing of scheduled waste anywhere except at a prescribed landfill is prohibited.

Any person who contravenes this section shall be guilty of an offence and shall be liable to a fine not exceeding RM500,000 or to imprisonment for a period not exceeding five years or to both.

Farmers affected

Farmers in the area claimed they had lodged complaints with the Klang Municipal Council’s (MPK) Environment Department in the past but no action was taken.

They had claimed the plant emitted clouds of white dust and a noxious smell while black liquid was discharged into the ditches in their farms.

A 5m brick wall separates the plant from the plantation.

Farmer Abdul Rashid Simon, 60, said the local authorities were not bothered about the fine dust which he said were affecting his oil palm and betel leaf plants.

He said the industrial plant manufactured aluminium alloy ingots used for electronic and automotive production.

It is alleged that crushed aluminium dross is leveled onto the ground at the back end of the industrial plant at Jalan Haji Abdul Manan in north Klang.

It is alleged that crushed aluminium dross is leveled onto the ground behind the industrial plant at Jalan Haji Abdul Manan in north Klang.

Aluminium is used in the production of beverage cans, doors, aluminium foil, and production of aluminium ingots, car parts, engine and pistons.

“I once looked over the wall and saw silver-coloured rocks being smashed and levelled into the ground,” he said.

Yong Ching, who catches squirrels in the area, believes the silver-coloured clumps are aluminium dross.

“Each time it rains, chemicals from the aluminium dross seeps out from the walled area and emits a noxious smell,” he said.

Yong, 53, said he has complained to MPK of industrial pollution caused by the plant.

“A lot of dust is blown towards housing areas nearby too,” he added.

The dumping of hazardous waste in the area is not new.

In January 2006, some 400 tonnes of aluminium dross were found at several spots along Sungai Klang.

The culprits were identified as licensed waste recyclers.

Oil palm trees have turned brown due to the cloud of dust that is believed to be aluminium dross.

Oil palm trees have turned brown due to the cloud of dust that is believed to be aluminium dross.

Setia Alam resident Kee Kwong Yen, 45, said DOE needs to investigate as MPK has shown no inclination to do anything so far.

“DOE should visit the site and investigate the complaints,” he added.

Mechanical engineer C.C. Chin, 51, said the authorities including the Health Ministry should check on the health of the employees.

Chin added that if the material is found to be hazardous, it must be removed immediately.

“DOE must conduct tests to see if the groundwater has been contaminated too,” he said.

Source: The Star

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