PETALING JAYA: Klang MP Charles Santiago has asked the health ministry to carry out an immediate health audit on the public following concerns on the level of water and air pollution in Port Klang.
This comes after reports of widespread dumping of plastic waste into rivers and open burning.
He said the ministry must take steps to stop more people falling sick after eating fish from contaminated waters or breathing continuously in a polluted environment due to burning of plastic waste.
“A health audit would mean medical check-up of people, the level of exposure to the burning and ensuring residents don’t fall sick.
“People are complaining of less fish to catch. We don’t know how long the sea life and people have been exposed to this type of pollution,” he told FMT.
Santiago said the health ministry should by now have sent its team to Port Klang to check the extent of pollution.
He said once this audit was completed, the ministry must then suggest to two other relevant ministries, dealing with the environment and the local authorities, how to safeguard the health of the public.
Santiago was responding to an FMT report, quoting environmental activist Tan See Han, on illegal plastic recycling sites at an abandoned industrial area in Port Klang.
A visit to the site showed the area filled with heaps of bulging sacks of plastic waste.
Tan said the plastic rubbish was imported from developed countries and the toxins from the plastics may have seeped into nearby rivers.
Santiago said as the MP for Klang, he had raised the issue in Parliament previously and was informed by Housing and Local Government Minister Zuraida Kamaruddin that she would speak to the Klang Municipal Council to stop issuing permits to factories processing such plastics.
“But I am told the council is still issuing licences to factories to process plastics.”
He urged the three ministries to coordinate their efforts to shut down illegal factories.
“The Klang Municipal Council should stop issuing permits. Let’s make sure the factories are not posing a threat to the people.”
He said recycling plastics may be a billion-ringgit industry today, but in the long run, it pollutes rivers and harms the people.
“Who is going to bear the cost if not society? It might be good (considering the investments) today, but society will suffer in five years from now.”