Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Locals fume over new incinerator, launch petition

The action group Kepong Jinjang Anti-Incinerator Committee launched a signature campaign today to press for greater public consultation over the government's plans to construct a waste incinerator in Kepong, Kuala Lumpur.
"The committee feels strongly worried and dissatisfied as this project involves the people’s health and will cause a great negative impact on the air quality.
"For this reason, we urge the related ministries to suspend the project to construct an incinerator in densely populated urban areas, review the feasibility of incineration and discuss the alternatives of non-incineration," said the group’s chairperson Martin Shek in a press statement after a press conference in Kepong this morning.
Invited to the press conference were Kepong MP Tan Seng Giaw and Segambut MP Lim Lip Eng.
According to Shek, as part of the signature campaign, flyers will be distributed and small exhibitions will be organised to raise awareness among the residents about the harm produced by incinerators.
“We began the collection of signatures this morning at Kepong Baru Pasar Pagi. We will go to different places every day to collect signatures,” Shek said, adding they had not set a target for the number of signatures.
“We want to collect as much as possible. The more signatures, the louder the voice of the people,” said Shek.
Eight conditions
Shek said the group will send the petition to Parliament, hoping that concerned MPs will receive the petition and fight for their cause in the House.
The date of handing in the petition is yet to be confirmed.
Last June, Urban Wellbeing, Housing and Local Government Minister Abdul Rahman Dahlan said Taman Beringin, Kepong had been proposed as the location for the incinerator to be constructed. Kepong is a densely populated residential area in the northern part of the city.
Today the anti-incinerator committee demanded the related ministry fulfill eight conditions before proceeding with the project:
1. The project must be tendered transparently and the contractors must provide all details of the incinerator model
2. Publish the Environmental Impact Assessment report as soon as possible
3. Conduct dialogues with the people, seek the people’s opinion and take the people’s wishes as the highest priority
4. Develop a general environmental policy and first run recycling programmes to reduce the risk of toxic substances released through incineration
5. The processing method of the bottom ash must be made known to the public.
6. Ensure there are a number of professionals involved in the project to guarantee the safe running of the incinerator.
7. The operating cost must be announced to the public.
8. The location of the incinerator must be situated far away from densely populated urban areas at a minimum radius of 50km away. The project must also receive the consent of the residents in the area.
Many areas affected
Shek quoted a research that it is a common misconception that things simply disappear when they are burned. In fact, matter cannot be destroyed but merely changes its form. Incinerators convert waste materials to other forms. These newly created chemicals can then re-enter the environment as contaminants in gas forms. Some of the emitted chemicals are carcinogenic (cancer-causing), others such as sulphur dioxide and nitrogen dioxide causes respiratory problems, and even contaminating local soil and vegetation with dioxins and heavy metals.
Those residing near incinerators are potentially exposed to chemicals through inhalation of contaminated air or consumption of contaminated agriculture produce. Exposure or living close to incinerators - such as Kepong, Selayang, Sentul, Gombak, Puchong, Ampang, Wangsa Maju, Mont Kiara and Petaling Jaya - could cause bodily harm, he warned.
Shek expressed his concerns and disatisfaction over the construction of the incinerator in Kepong and urged the people to join them to spread the awareness.
'We encourage everyone to join us as volunteers, to help us collect signatures and spread the news to every corner," said Shek.
Related news: 'Ungrateful' Kepong voters deserve incinerator http://www.malaysiakini.com/news/244497

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