No contract should be awarded to a party to operate the incinerator until the people are satisfied that the technology will not be harmful to them years from now.
By Loganathan Batumalai
As a resident of Bandar Menjalara in Kepong, I am deeply upset about the lack of information residents are receiving in regard to the new incinerator.
I see press reports that two companies are being identified for the job, but all the concerns about the environment seem to be left unanswered. I hope the local government ministry and Kuala Lumpur City Hall answers these questions before they award the contract to any company.
Burning garbage, even in this day and age with advance technologies is horrible, because it produces toxic metals, dioxins, and acid gases. One-fourth of the garbage will be toxic ash, and therefore there will be the problem of disposing the waste after burning it.
Serdang MP, Ong Kian Ming, has already pointed out that previous smaller incinerators in Pulau Pangkor, Pulau Langkawi and Cameron Highlands have been failures. I was most concerned after a friend shared this information with me.
If it has already failed earlier, there is as much chance of it failing yet again in Kepong. What’s more, this will be a huge project, much bigger than those in Pulau Pangkor, Pulau Langkawi and Cameron Highlands.
Friends in business tell me that all the bids to do the job in Kepong are by big Malaysian companies using foreign technology via joint-ventures.
We have to get more information. I am not a scientific person by nature, but I do know that the effects of incineration will only be felt many years later, when my children are older. This is very worrying, and I am not the only parent in Kepong who feels this way. I don’t even know how far the fumes from the incinerator in Taman Metropolitan will travel up and down the Middle Ring Road 2 (MRR2).
I know that Kepong residents have organised themselves under NGOs and are linking themselves with opposition politicians. I have only seen the pamphlets and I do not want this issue to turn political. This is about healthcare. I have not gone to these gatherings, but I am told the decision about the incinerator will be made very soon, and I am very concerned about this.
For now I want to know the full cost of the project to our health. I don’t care which company makes how much money from this. I feel DBKL and the ministry must explain this to us until we understand it.
I don’t think we should approve any contract until the people are acceptable with it, and the technology is proven not to be harmful to the people.
I want the issue of the incinerator to be reconsidered.
Everybody from here, especially those not politically inclined, want the relevant leaders to give this more thought and not just start burning garbage at our doorsteps.
I am no expert, and that is why I want more experts to speak about this and help us regular residents understand the issue better.
Loganathan Batumalai is an FMT reader.
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