All ready: Garbage trucks entering the new landfill in Papan
AFTER being in operation for 26 years, the Bercham landfill called it a day after the last pile of garbage was dumped there last Saturday.
The landfill, which was officially closed by Hulu Kinta assemblyman Datuk Rusnah Kassim, was used to dump about 600 tonnes of rubbish daily since it started in 1986.
With its closure, rubbish is now dumped at a new RM19mil modern state-of-the-art centralised sanitary landfill on a 224ha plot in Ulu Johan located in Papan.
The rubbish dumped here are being collected not only from Ipoh but also from Batu Gajah, and the Perak Tengah and Kampar districts.
Datuk Bandar Datuk Roshidi Hashim, who opened the new landfill in Papan on Sunday, said it would be able to operate up to 35 years.
“Should development in Ipoh become more rapid, it can still be able to operate for 25 years,” he said, adding that it can take in about 700 tonnes of rubbish daily.
The first cell, measuring 0.4ha, can accumulate rubbish for two months.
“We will construct the second cell, measuring 3ha, next week,” Roshidi said, adding that it could heap rubbish for a year.
New area: Roshidi (second from left) checking the first advance cell for garbage at the new landfill in Papan.
Roshidi stressed that the new landfill was classified as Level Four, which was the best plant for waste management.
“The landfill is equipped with a leachate collection and treatment plant,” he said, adding that the collection point has three layers of membrane to avoid leachate water from seeping into the ground.
“The landfill also has methane gas releasing capabilities,” he added.
Roshidi also said that the new site was approved in 2008 by the Pakatan Rakyat administration.
“When Barisan Nasional returned as the state government, it continued to endorse the project and gazetted the area for this landfill,” he said, adding that there are plans for expansion with more collecting cells to be constructed.
Nearby farmers have also been given time to clear their crops from the area before the expansion project started, added Roshidi.
On the former landfill in Bercham, city council secretary Datuk Abdul Rahim Md Ariff said it would be turned into a recreational park or a golf course once it is rehabilitated.
The land was not safe for development as leachate had seeped into the ground and methane gas was also found underneath, he said.
“Methane, which is combustible, needs to be cleared from the ground first,” Abdul Rahim said, adding that rehabilitation of the area could take up to 18 months.
He added that the city council has asked for a RM30mil allocation from the Housing and Local Government Ministry for the rehabilitation project.
Officially closed: Rusnah (yellow attire) reading the closure notice board in Bercham. On her left is Abdul Rahim.
Rusnah hoped the rehabilitation works would be done quickly as thestench from the garbage was still in the air.
The methane gas underground could also start a fire, she added.
Nearby residents were also glad that the landfill had finally closed down.
Kampung Lim Tan chief Teoh Geok Lin, 76, a former school bus driver, said not many villagers could afford air-conditioner or air purifiers to keep the stench away.
“The stench has been the villagers’ bane for almost 20 years. We are now looking forward to less ‘smelly’ mornings” he said in jest.
Sharing the same sentiment was Batu Lapan villager Aminah Salleh, 60, a housewife, who said that the smell at times was so bad that it could stay on their clothes.
Ulu Kinta resident Halijah Mohd Kassim, 65, hoped that the closing of the landfill would also keep the flies away.