Residents demand closure of Sepang plastic factory

Residents and NGOs holding a banner urging the Sepang Municipal Council to stop the plastic factory from operating.

SEPANG: A plastic recycling factory is causing problems to residents and a dragonfruit grower here and in Sungai Pelek.

Former Sepang municipal councillor Henry Tong, 36, said residents had to bear with the stench and ash from burning of plastic, which is causing a skin itch and problems to those suffering from asthma.

Henry Tong.

He said the factory, believed to be owned by an investor from China, was closed in March following complaints but had begun operating again after obtaining a temporary six-month permit from the council.

“We hope the council will reconsider its decision,” he told reporters at Batu Dua, Sepang, here.

Tong also wondered about the odd operating hours of the factory, from midnight till dawn.

He said it was important for the environment around Sepang to be taken care of properly given its proximity to the Kuala Lumpur International Airport .

“It will give the wrong impression to visitors if the first whiff of air after arriving in Malaysia is the burning of plastic waste.

Dragonfruit plants affected by disease. The farmer claims his production has been affected by the toxic ash from burning of plastic waste.

“This is especially so as 2020 is ‘Visit Sepang’ and ‘Visit Malaysia’ year.”

Tong and 50 other people, representing the residents and NGOs, gathered outside the gates of the factory today to express their unhappiness over the reopening of the factory.

Joshua Tee.

Meanwhile, Joshua Tee, 40, chairman of the Sungai Pelek and Sepang Coalition of Chinese Associations and Temples, claimed the plastic waste being burnt by the factory was imported from overseas.

“They are brought to the factory in containers. We fear the waste will pollute Sungai Sepang Besar behind the factory.

“We don’t want a repeat of the pollution case that hit Sungai Kim Kim in Johor recently which affected hundreds of residents,” he said.

Tee believed the factory was only given a temporary operating permit after failing to obtain a favourable environmental impact assessment report.

Sean Ng.

He hoped the Sepang Muncipal Council, which is meeting on Tuesday, will take note of residents’ unhappiness over the factory’s operations.

Sean Ng, who runs a dragonfruit farm about 200m from the factory, blamed the burning of plastic for his poor produce.

“Alam Flora has informed me that they are not burning rubbish in the area. My crops have a layer of ash, believed to be from the burning of plastic, every morning.

“The plants are not healthy and production has fallen from two tonnes to 200kg a month.

“My wholesaler is also refusing to buy from me, claiming my fruits are poisoned by the burning of plastic.”