Spike in respiratory illness, diarrhoea worry residents near illegal dump

Residents of KinraraMas in Puchong protesting against the constant stench and illegal dumping of waste.

KUALA LUMPUR: A 1.2ha illegal dumping site next to the high-density KinraraMas Apartments and townhouses in Puchong has triggered an “unusual” spike in respiratory ailments, diarrhoea and dry throats.

Residents have blamed the rubbish, the resulting leachate and stench for many of them falling ill.

A resident, LO Loh, said she had been suffering from severe sore throat.

“Not only me. Others are also having a sore throat or throat dryness,” she told reporters at KinraraMas Apartments, which overlooks the illegal dumping site.

She says metal fittings in her house like pipes were now corroding fast and blamed this on the toxic nature of the air.

She stays in a townhouse, 40m from the site.

She was among hundreds of residents who held a two-hour demonstration in front of their apartments chanting “YB tolong turun padang” (MPs, please visit us), and “We voted you with trust”.

Lorries parked near the garbage area.

The KinraraMas development, located next to Bandar Kinrara, consists of two blocks of 540 apartments and 56 townhouses.

Residents first noticed the illegal dumping in the middle of March.

Gan Kian Yeap

In April, the residents lodged complaints with Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL), Seputeh MP Teresa Kok and Energy, Science, Technology, Environment and Climate Change Minister Yeo Bee Yin.

FMT has reached out to Kok for comments and is awaiting her response.

In May, the residents sent a petition to Yeo to stop all illegal dumping activities and to make their homes safe again, said KinraraMas Committee member M Ananthan.

He said since then, 20 to 30 lorries that used to dump garbage there had stopped their activities.

“They are doing something but not fast enough. Now, lorries are levelling the tonnes of garbage on the land, burying it.”

He said the toxic leachate from the waste and stench was causing residents to fall sick.

During FMT’s visit to Jalan Mas 1, media representatives also experienced dry throats after being exposed to the air for two hours.

M Ananthan

A father of three, K Mohin, said families feared for the safety of their children as they do not know the long-term effects of the stench.

KinraraMas committee member Gan Kian Yeap said an unusual number of people had been falling sick since the illegal dumping started.

“The committee has received more flu, diarrhoea and asthma complaints. Recently, someone was admitted in hospital for a respiratory infection.”

He said the committee had contacted the health ministry for assistance.

He said the residents will continue to hold demonstrations until their homes and neighbourhood are safe again.

They are now planning to take their protest to the Prime Minister’s Office or Parliament if the authorities don’t act quickly.

Ananthan said the area used to be a pleasant place to stay with plenty of greenery before this.