The Consumers Association of Penang (CAP) and Sahabat Alam Malaysia (SAM) were surprised to encounter a garbage dump in Teluk Mengkudu during our field-work in Manjung district in the state of Perak. We were baffled because the Department of Environment (DOE) had on 29 August 2013 rejected a Detailed Environmental Impact Assessment (DEIA) report for a Level 4 Sanitary Landfill to be developed in a state-owned land in Teluk Mengkudu within the Pengkalan Baharu sub-district.
There is no indication in DOE’s website that an amended DEIA was submitted and later approved. We found Manjung Municipal Council garbage trucks dumping solid waste in a fenced up area and were informed that the operation began early this year. Several private trucks with garbage were also making trips there, presumably to dump waste for a low fee.
Since it is not evident that the DEIA report of the project was approved, how could the Manjung Municipal Council start operations here? Besides this, we found there is no concern for the environment as there does not seem to be any landfill liner, leachate treatment pond or landfill gas collection. Ironically all along the quarry road to the dump site where there are ex-mining ponds, signboards were placed by the government to prevent dumping of waste.
In this case however a local authority itself would be found guilty of conducting an illegal act if it is established that the Manjung Municipal Council has contravened the Environmental Quality Act 1974. Section 34A(8) of Act 127 states that “Any person who contravenes this section shall be guilty of an offence and shall be liable to a fine not exceeding five hundred thousand ringgit or to imprisonment for a period not exceeding five years or to both and to a further fine of one thousand ringgit for every day that the offence is continued after a notice by the Director General requiring him to comply with the act specified therein has been served upon him.”
We have written to the DOE to investigate this matter and awaiting the DOE’s response. We are keen to find out what action will be taken by the DOE if it is found that the Manjung Municipal Council did indeed breach the law.
It is a sorry state of affairs when an entity which is supposed to be promoting the interests of local communities including the protection of the environment, is found guilty of committing an offence. We urge the responsible authorities to take appropriate action to stop the open dumping and clean up their act.
S.M. MOHAMED IDRIS