Polluting air in Pandamaran
HUNDREDS of scrap tyres are being dumped and burnt at a light industrial area off Persiaran Selat Selatan in Pandamaran by syndicates who offer cheaper disposal rates to workshops and those in the tyre trade.
Several workshops around Pandamaran and Port Klang sell used tyres which the syndicate members stack up at an abandoned shoplot at Jalan Selat Selatan 16 and even on the road in front of the shop before setting it on fire in the wee hours of the morning.
According to a manager of a neighbouring business who wanted to be known as Choo, the tyres were burnt to recover steel wires embedded in the rubber that is later collected and sold to scrap metal dealers.
“One or two business ownersin the area had voiced their dissatisfaction on the burning of tyres but the syndicate members had warned them to mind their own business or have their shops burned down,” she said.
Klang Consumer Association president Devadass Anjan said the syndicates charged workshops a disposal fee which was cheaper than the cost of bulk waste disposal at official landfills.
“Across the light industrial area is residential area Taman Suria Pendamar and the black smoke occasionally drifts into the neighbourhood depending on the direction of the wind.
“Burning of tyres also emits ultra fine particles that are toxic,” he said.
Devadass said the Klang Municipal Council’s (MPK) Solid Waste Management Department and the Department of Environment should take action on those involved with the illegal activity.
StarMetro visited the site and noticed that the abandoned double-storey shoplot was blackened with soot from the burning of hundreds of tyres.
The particular road, Jalan Selat Selatan 16, was damaged with evidence of burnt rubber and steel wires littered at the area.
Contractors hired by MPK to clean the area turned a blind eye to the situation as they did not want to cross swords with the syndicate.
According to a trader, most businesses in the tyre trade are following bulk waste disposal in a proper manner but a small number discard them illegally.
In StarMetro’s report on Oct 8 titled “What a big waste”, it was revealed that the local councils in Selangor were spending millions of ringgit to clear bulk waste including scrap tyres.
Selangor Tourism, Consumer Affairs and Environment committee chairman Elizabeth Wong said she was shocked to learn that syndicates were burning tyres at an abandoned shoplot and on public road.
“I cannot believe there has been no action from the local council.
“Burning tyres present a serious risk to the environment.
“Dangerous gases such as sulphur dioxide and hydrogen cyanide are released when rubber is burnt,” she said.
Selangor Local Government, New Village Development, Legalising of Factories committee chairman Ean Yong Hian Wah said local councils must have a list of tyre replacement workshops and encourage traders to support recycling old tyres.
“Old rubber can be converted into products such as sports pitches, athletic tracks and as building material to construct road surfaces and floorings.
“Our local councils could help pair up traders with recycling companies,” he said.
Ean Yong said local councils must create a safe disposal programme for businesses in the tyre trade as an approach for long term preservation of the environment.
Selangor Mentri Besar Mohamed Azmin Ali expressed concern that unscrupulous people were using “bonfire” methods to recover wires from old tyres.
“MPK must take immediate action to shut down the illegal operations that are contributing to environmental pollution and threatening the health of people,” he said after the State Economic Action Council Meeting.
Azmin said the council must be vigilant against such illegal activities as it could impact jobs in waste management.
“Area supervisors who are in charge of cleanliness must buck up and look out for such activities and report to MPK for action to be taken,” he added.