BANTING: Villagers near Kuala Langat, Selangor, are up in arms over high pollution levels allegedly caused by a nearby lead-acid battery manufacturing plant.
The factory, which has been operating since 2014, is about 300m from schools and kindergartens in Kampung Jenjarom. Its close proximity, along with that of a plastic manufacturing plant also in the vicinity, has raised concerns among residents over their health and the well-being of their children.
Maketab Mohamed, the former director of Universiti Teknologi Malaysia’s Occupational Safety, Health and Environment Unit, has been helping the villagers monitor the lead levels.
He said there are signs of lead poisoning among the villagers and workers from the factory.
He added that laboratory tests showed high levels of lead and acid in the soil and water near the factory area, which could affect the health of nearby residents.
“We carried out hair sampling for lead on some residents and workers, and the results showed a high level of lead in some of them,” he said.
Environmental activist Pua Ley Peng said the factory had been operating as usual despite orders from the authorities to cease operations on March 15.
“When we checked the pH level of the water discharged from the factory, we found that it was very acidic, even when samples were taken as far as 3km from the factory.
“We collected discharge from the factory and found that the content was not compliant with regular standards. They were, in fact, four to five times higher than the standard levels,” she said.
Pua said a report of their findings was sent to the Department of Environment but that no action had been taken so far.
One of the residents, Mohd Nazri Afrizal, 36, said he hoped the problem could be resolved soon.
“We want the factory relocated because it poses a danger to our health,” he said.
Attempts to seek comments from the factory management were not successful as the plant was closed for “renovations”.