KUCHING: Trienekens (Sarawak) Sdn Bhd and The Council of the City of Kuching South (MBKS) are appealing for the public’s cooperation to prevent illegal dumping of waste which has become increasingly widespread in Lorong 28 Jalan Stampin Baru, behind the shop-houses at Jalan Setia Raja and in other areas governed by the Council.
“Illegal dumping is a serious problem for us as this irresponsible act affects the health and safety of both the public and the environment,” said MBKS Councillor, Cr. Haji Mohamad Taufik bin Abdul Ghani. “MBKS and Trienekens are currently working together to manage the illegal dumping cases found under the council’s jurisdictions,” he added.
Illegal waste dumping frequently occurs on vacant or private properties including abandoned industrial, commercial or residential buildings. Other common places are in back alleys, along roadsides, in cul-de-sacs, along rural roads and down secluded valleys.
The most common waste disposed was found to be bulky waste such as construction and demolition waste (drywall, roofing, lumber, bricks, concrete, etc.), old furniture, abandoned vehicles, auto parts and tyres, appliances, yard or garden waste, and other household waste such as leftover food.
Illegal waste dumping has been found to affect human health in multiple ways; dump sites attract rodents, other animals and insects, which may lead to the spread of infectious diseases, especially through mosquitoes. When such sites are easily accessible, the public also risk injury from nails and sharp edges. There is the risk of being exposed hazardous chemicals from toxic fluids or dust.
Cr. Haji Mohamad Taufik added, “Illegal dump sites can cause neighbourhood property values to decrease besides causing these areas to be unattractive to commercial and residential developers, thereby limiting their future potential. It is also very costly to continuously clear the illegally dumped rubbish from these sites. We appeal to members of the public to take their waste management more seriously and dispose of their waste properly using the bins provided. If the volume is too much, they are welcome to call the Council or Trienekens and seek our advice on how to dispose of the waste properly.”
Another common hazard arising from illegal dumpsites is the risk of fire occurring from either combustion or arson. This is especially dangerous as many of such sites have old aerosol or gas cans that can lead to explosions, while common household or farm chemicals can emit toxic smoke when in contact with flames. Burning at these sites can also lead to forest fires, while erosion and sediment loading can occur in streams. This can also cause damage to, as well as the difficult evacuation of, surrounding neighbourhoods.
MBKS and Trienekens have been carrying out regular site inspections at several areas where illegal dumping is rampant. From the inspections, waste was found to be primarily dumped in and around semi-urban areas consistently nearby residential and commercial locales.
According to Trienekens’ Senior Manager of Logistics and Services, Sarius Lee, “It is very difficult to stop illegal dumping at a location after it has occurred. If the site is not effectively addressed, it can easily attract more dumping. As a service provider, it is our duty to first refer these cases to the relevant Councils for confirmation prior to any clearing activity. Trienekens will continue to work with the local Councils to minimize this problem through awareness, education and enforcement.”
Locally, the recurring issue of illegal waste dumping can mostly be attributed to some of the public’s poor environmental awareness and practice of managing municipal waste. The present attitude can be improved if the public takes on a more serious stance in managing their refuse; simply by caring more for cleanliness and taking all the necessary steps to manage their waste more responsibly. This can be done through easy steps and positive initiatives such as looking after the cleanliness of their homes and neighbourhood, caring for and looking after their bins or bin centres, collectively restraining from littering and indiscriminate dumping, or to start recycling – all simple but crucial steps taken for the good of the community and environment. It is ultimately essential for the whole community to move together towards heightened public awareness to ensure that waste management services are carried out sustainably; for the betterment of the communities and for the environment at large.
Illegal dumping is an offence under the Natural Resources Environment Board Ordinance and punishable by law. Anyone found guilty of dumping waste illegally can be charged with the maximum penalty of RM20, 000.00 under Section 30 (1) (a & b). To highlight any illegal dumping in their area, residents are advised to call MBKS at 082-242311 /082-345265 or Trienekens at 082-612300.