NIBONG TEBAL: The overall situation on the smouldering Pulau Burung landfill in Nibong Tebal has improved compared with last week, according to Penang chief minister Chow Kon Yeow.
Despite the improvement, the situation still does not permit residents from two villages near the landfill, who are at the Sekolah Kebangsaan Saujana Indah temporary shelter (PPS), to return home.
“The villagers have been advised to stay at the temporary shelter until they have been cleared to go back home.
“The state government will be giving out RM1,000 cash aid to affected villagers next week,” Chow said during a press conference at the Dewan Serbaguna Jawi here.
The incident affected 38 families in Ladang Byram estate and 52 families in Kampung Kebun Baru. However, only 44 villagers are still at the temporary shelter as of yesterday.
According to Chow, 58% of the landfill is still smouldering and efforts to put out the fire is ongoing, with the aid of thermal heat censoring drones from the department of environment to detect the hotspots.
According to Mohd Hafiz Hafizal Timaradin, the assistant director of the Penang fire and rescue department, his men are being assisted by their counterparts from Perak, Negeri Sembilan and Selangor as well.
“A helicopter was sent from Subang two days ago to water bomb the smouldering part of the landfill.
“It is difficult to put out the fire as soon as possible due to strong winds from the sea,” he said.
At the press conference, Chow said that nine out of 10 schools near the landfill that has been closed since Thursday, will be reopened.
Only one school, SJKT Ladang Byram will remain closed as it is nearest to the landfill.
He also said the district health department had reported that there were no cases of residents being hospitalised as a result of the incident.
Chow added that the state government is awaiting a report from the Seberang Perai City Council on actions that will be taken against landfill operator, Syarikat PLB Terang Sdn Bhd.
The company has been managing the site for the past five years and has a 21-year concession contract.
“There were also no cases of Covid-19 reported among villagers stationed at the temporary shelter,” he said.
The Pulau Burung landfill has been smouldering since Jan 12. According to the state government, the cause of the fire is still under investigation.