Battery factory will be ordered to shift if responsible for pollution

The polluted area near the battery factory in Jenjarom, Kuala Langat.

SHAH ALAM: A battery factory in Jenjarom, Kuala Langat near here, will be ordered to shift its operations to a more suitable location if it is found to be discharging hazardous waste that has polluted the drainage and waterways there.

Selangor Environment, Green Technology, Science, Technology and Innovation and Consumer Affairs Committee chairman Hee Loy Sian said the state government has instructed the Selangor Water Management Authority (LUAS), Department of Environment (DOE) and the Drainage and Irrigation Department (DID) to carry out a study to determine the cause of the pollution in the area.

“The Health Department, through the Occupational and Environmental Health Unit, has started blood sampling operations as well as screening in the area.

“The Department of Occupational Safety and Health (DOSH) has also been instructed to take blood samples of the factory workers,” he said in a statement here today.

Hee said before this, the main activity of the factory, which produces rechargeable batteries, had never involved lead melting or recycling of used batteries.

He said the factory, which has been operating since 2014, was damaged in a fire on Dec 12, 2017. It was rebuilt in March last year and was back in operation in September.

Following an investigation by DOE on Sept 12 and 13, 2018, operations at the factory were suspended for two weeks after it was found that its effluent treatment plant was not functioning properly.

Following that, a notice was issued to the factory to rectify the situation and carry out improvement work.

Hee said DOE also recommended legal action against the factory for excessive discharge of industrial effluents and for it to be charged under the Environmental Quality Act for conducting lead recovery without furnishing the Environmental Impact Assessment Report.

The factory had also been issued six compound notices, involving fines totalling RM12,000, by DOE for breaching regulations on the management of its scheduled waste, and imposed a prohibition order under the Environmental Quality Act since Jan 30 for building an extension used for lead melting, he said.

FMT recently reported that more than 6,000 people in Kampung Jenjarom are in danger of lead poisoning due to illegal dumping of the heavy metal in streams and rivers nearby.