Open burning behind dialysis centre raises eyebrows

Source of air pollution: Thick smoke from the open burning enveloping part of Taman Seri Merdeka.

Story and photos by KHARLEEZ ZUBIN

RESIDENTS in Taman Seri Merdeka in Bandar Baru Ampang are complaining of sore throats and breathing difficulties as a result of illegal rubbish dumping and open burning at a site near their homes.

To add to their distress, their complaints to the Ampang Jaya Municipal Council (MPAJ) seem to have fallen on deaf ears.

No action has so far been taken against the culprits responsible for the daily pollution.

According to the residents, the site, which sits at the edge of a haemodialysis centre run by a member of Parliament, was dug up before lorries started unloading rubbish there on a daily basis.

The site sits next to a stream and not far from the 140-year-old Kow Wong Yeh Temple.

Businessman, Andy Kong, who runs a restaurant nearby, said he received a rude reply when he asked one of the lorry drivers about the rubbish dumping and burning.

“You small chicken don’t make noise. We can do anything lah,” — This was the reply that Kong received from the lorry driver.

Another resident Dr Mohd Fawzi Ramli said the open burning was adding to the poor air quality around Bandar Baru Ampang.

“I cannot understand why the council cannot act firmly against these culprits whose actions will have a long-term effect on the environment,” he said.

One more load: A lorry driver dumping rubbish at the site in Taman Seri Merdeka.

Local community leader S.M. Kamaruddin, who visited the site, was surprised that open burning at such a scale was being carried out in the neighbourhood without being detected by MPAJ.

“You can see the smoke billowing for miles around.

“Why hasn’t the authorities taken action?” he told StarMetro.

Kamaruddin, who is deputy president of Pewaris Malaysia, an NGO involved in the caring of underprivileged senior citizens, said the open burning would affect the health of residents living in several old folk’s homes in Bandar Baru Ampang.

When contacted, MPAJ corporate communications department head Norhayati Ahmad said the council did not have the power to arrest the lorry drivers who dump and burn rubbish at the site.

“We can only issue compounds and refer the matter to the Department of Environment,” she said.

However, she said MPAJ enforcement officers had gone to see the operator of the haemodialysis centre to ask them not to allow anyone to use its compound for illegal dumping and open burning.

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