Waste linked to Sungai Kim Kim pollution case classified as oil sludge, court told

The waste generated from the tyre processing plant associated with the pollution incident in Sungai Kim Kim, Pasir Gudang on March 7, was classified as scheduled waste SW311, or 'oil sludge'. — Bernama pic
The waste generated from the tyre processing plant associated with the pollution incident in Sungai Kim Kim, Pasir Gudang on March 7, was classified as scheduled waste SW311, or 'oil sludge'. — Bernama pic

JOHOR BARU, Dec 3 — The Sessions Court here was informed today that the waste generated from the tyre processing plant associated with the pollution incident in Sungai Kim Kim, Pasir Gudang on March 7, was classified as scheduled waste SW311, or 'oil sludge'.

Senior principal assistant director of the assessment and development section of the hazardous materials division in the Department of Environment in Putrajaya, Ir Azlan Ahmad, 50, told Judge Wan Mohd Norisham Wan Yaakob that the classification of the scheduled waste was done via various means.

He said the first step was to look at the analysis report provided by the Chemistry Department, and then look at the chemical properties contained in the waste, as well as by looking at the process by which the waste is produced.

He said based on this, the DOE would finally be able to compare their results with the 77 scheduled waste codes set out under Schedule 1 of the Environmental Quality (Scheduled Waste) Regulations 2005.

“Next I will also compare it with the regulations under the Basel Convention, Stockholm Convention, Rotterdam Convention on Hazardous Wastes and Their Disposal which Malaysia is a party to,” he said when questioned by DPP Muhammad Syafiq Mohd Ghazali on the first day of the case here today.

Azlan, who had served 25 years with the DOE and holds a Bachelor of Science (Environmental Management) degree from the Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) and a Bachelor of Biology (Hons) from UKM, is the second witness in the case.

When asked about the other chemical properties found in the Chemistry Department's chemical analysis report, Azlan said there was xylene, toluene and ethylbenzene which are oil-based, besides the chemical, d-limonene.

However, when asked by defence lawyer G. Subramaniam Nair whether he had physically examined the presence of the chemicals before making the classification, Azlan said he had not.

Subramaniam: So your decision to classify it as oil sludge was made without physical observation?

Azlan: Yes.

Subramaniam: In the chemical report, there are three substances mentioned, namely xylene, toluene and ethylbenzene. Also, when looking at other samples (substances), there are also four types of organic solvents, but the chemical report only mentioned d-limonene, which is usually the byproduct of tyre pyrolysis? There are no other substances?

Azlan: Yes.

Subramaniam: So here, I would like to suggest, that with regard to this chemical report, the basis for your decision to classify these samples as waste is incorrect, and you did not come to the conclusion based on the legal requirements as well as the chemical properties?

Azlan: I disagree.

On March 24, N. Naridas, 35, a lorry driver at a used tyre processing company, was accused of disposing the scheduled wastes into the river, using a Mitsubishi lorry and a semi-trailer tank.

The disposal of the wastes was done without prior approval from the Director-General of Environmental Quality.

Three company directors, Wong Jing Chao, 34, a Singaporean; Yap Loke Liang, 36, and Sim Wei Der (also Singaporean), 50, were charged with abetting Maridass in disposing of the scheduled wastes into the river using the same vehicle.

They are alleged to have committed the offence at the Sungai Kim Kim bridge-widening project site between 12.01am and 1 am on March 7.

Maridass was charged under Section 34B (1)(a) of the Environmental Quality Act 1974, punishable under Section 34(B)(4) of the same Act, which carries a maximum jail term of five years and fine of RM500,000.

The three directors were charged under Section 34B (1)(a) of the Environmental Quality Act 1974, punishable under Section 34(B)(3) of the same Act and read together with Section 42 of the same Act, which also carries a maximum jail term of five years and a fine of RM500,000.

The three directors were also slapped with 15 charges each, under Rule 3(1) of the Environment Quality Regulations (Scheduled Wastes) 2005 and Environmental Quality Regulations (Clean Air) 2014.

They were accused of failing to conduct air quality monitoring, and failing to notify the authorities about the production of scheduled wastes.

The trial, which will see 32 prosecution witnesses being called, continues Thursday.

The prosecution and defence teams are scheduled to visit several locations linked to the incident tomorrow. — Bernama

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