JOHOR BARU, Nov 9 — Dust and smoke from a soil fire at a waste disposal landfill site in Kampung Bukit Dagang Ulu Tiram in Ulu Tiram near here have been a bane for villagers for the past two weeks.
It was learnt that the fire was deliberately carried out by the landfill site operators to eliminate the solid waste collected.
According to Kampung Bukit Dagang Ulu Tiram villager Abdullah Hassan claimed the villagers are desperate for a solution as they have been affected by the smoke and smell from the burning for almost two weeks.
“Even when its raining, smoke from the landfill continues to come up as the fire is not easily extinguished, affecting the surrounding residents due to the constant burning in the soil of the landfill.
“We believe that the soil in the landfill has been doused with fuel in an attempt to burn the solid waste,” he said when contacted by Malay Mail recently.
Abdullah, who was born in Kampung Bukit Dagang Ulu Tiram, said the villagers are forced to inhale the smoke and it has threatened their health.
“I was told the cost to put out the fire was costly, but the situation has threatened the health of surrounding residents,” said the 59-year-old retired armed forces personnel.
Previously, a nearby landfill area near Kampung Bukit Dagang Ulu Tiram in Ulu Tiram was reported to be a dumping ground for scheduled waste containing arsenic.
On August 8, Malay Mail reported that Senggarang assemblyman Khairuddin A. Rahim alleged that 2,000 metric tonnes of scheduled waste containing arsenic from Singapore, brought in by a Johor waste disposal company, is being dumped at a landfill in the Sungai Tiram area on a monthly basis.
The illegal activities were earlier uncovered by a team from the Johor Department of Environment (DoE), where the source was traced to the solid waste disposal company here.
Meanwhile, Ulu Tiram zone municipal councillor Mohd Nasir Mohd Yunus said the matter has been brought-up with the Pasir Gudang Municipal Council (MPPG) during a council meeting, pending action by the authorities.
He agreed with Abdullah saying that the act of burning the landfill was not a solution for eliminating solid waste and the victims were the villagers.
Mohd Nasir hopes the authorities will intervene soon to solve the problem as well as action taken against the landfill site’s owners as a reminder to them.
“I will continue to assist the villagers in immediately resolving this urgent problem.
“I urge the state government to intervene in the issue,” he said, adding that he plans to also lodge a police report on the matter.
There are more than 60 homes in Kampung Bukit Dagang Ulu Tiram that are affected by the burning at the landfill.
At the same time, about 200 homes in the landfill’s vicinity are also affected by the pollution.