Water disruptions due to illegal dumping should not be happening in the developed state like the State of Selangor and yet we continue to get such incidents every year. Obviously there is a serious lack of enforcement and not taking strong actions to curtail illegal dumping. Image source: The Star
We just had a major water disruption 3 months ago when on September 23, it was closed due to contamination from Sungai Lalang near the Semenyih Hitech area, and a day earlier, it was shut down due to contamination believed to be from an illegal factory along Jalan Sungai Lalang.
And before that we had another water disruption in July 2019 where millions were affected. It seems like we are having water disruptions every 3 months. Is someone sabotaging the Pakatan Selangor State Government? If so, it is working very well because one can see from comments in social media, almost everyone is angry at the State Government.
Yes, it has happened again!
The dumping of scheduled waste into manholes in the lowly populated Bandar Bukit Mahkota had forced the closure of the Sungai Semenyih water treatment plant twice in three months, affecting more than 1.5 million residents in several districts.
Just last week, oily residue was found in a Bukit Mahkota manhole, which Lembaga Urus Air Selangor (LUAS) confirmed to be the source of odour pollution that forced the shutdown of the Sungai Semenyih and Bukit Tampoi water treatment plants, as well as the Bandar Bukit Mahkota sewage treatment plant, on Saturday.
And of course, now this has happened for so many times in this year, the authorities are beginning to wake up on embarking on real action items:-
Indah Water Konsortium Sdn Bhd (IWK) will seal off all manholes near its treatment plant in Bandar Bukit Mahkota, Cheras near here to prevent illegal waste disposal from occurring again in future.
State Environment, Green Technology, Science, Technology and Innovation and Consumer Affairs Committee chairman, Hee Loy Sian noted that through a discussion, IWK had agreed to permanently close all 20 manholes in the area.
“This is to prevent people from opening the manhole. I will also direct the Kajang Municipal Council and IWK to provide 24-hour control at the entrance of the area and I hope the police can patrol the area to ensure that there are no intruders into the area,” he said when contacted here Sunday (Dec 22).
Why such proactive actions were not taken in the past when we had numerous incidents of illegal dumping? Obviously the enforcement needs to be tightened and same goes for the urgency of investigations into the illegal dumping. The quantum and severity of punishment needs to be increased to a level where it will cause the offenders to think twice before dumping toxic waste and contaminations illegally.
And of course, politicians make continue to make comments that yet to be backed up with proper actions and more importantly solid results. Dr. Xavier Jayakumar who is the Minister of Water, Land and Natural Resources on Sunday interestingly said this in his Facebook page:-
Punca henti tugas Loji Rawatan Air Sungai Semenyih dan akibatnya gangguan bekalan air yang tidak berjadual adalah dari pembuangan sisa secara haram oleh pihak yang tidak bertanggungjawab. Siasatan penuh akan dilaksanakan agar pelaku ini akan ditangkap dan dijatuhkan hukuman yang berat.
(In summary, he said that the source of the contamination has been found to be from illegal dumping by irresponsible people and investigations will be made and the offenders will be arrested and will be given the heaviest punishment).
Mighty statement indeed but then again, does this sound familiar? Because the same Honourable Minister parroted the same promise during water disruptions back in July 2019:-
The National Water Services Commission (SPAN) will open an investigation paper and take action against those responsible for the odour pollution in the Sungai Selangor raw water source.
The incident caused three of Pengurusan Air Selangor Sdn Bhd (Air Selangor) water treatment plants to be shut down on Friday (July 19).
Water, Land and Natural Resources Minister Dr Xavier Jayakumar said SPAN, as the regulatory body for the water supply and sewerage services, will conduct investigations according to the Water Services Industry Act 2006 (Act 655).
Will he be saying the same lines next year if there was another incident of illegal dumping? And what about all the investigations of the previous incidents of illegal dumping – what is the outcome of those investigations? After all, water disruptions due to illegal dumping have been going on even longer before 2016.
How many people have been arrested todate and given the heaviest punishment under the law?
How many people have been charged as terrorists for endangering millions of consumers by releasing toxic waste into the treated water source?
None as far as I can recall – all have ended as empty talks but without any real action in bringing the offenders to the courts to be charged.
This needs to be changed drastically if we want to end such illegal dumping in the future for good. We need to name and shame the parties involved and even if large companies are involved and if they try to wash their hands by passing the blame to their sub-contractors, they should be made guilty of the offence as well.
We need names, the companies involved and names of the board all published in the papers once the culprits have been identified. We need to strip them naked and parade them in the streets and let the public who had been suffering for days without water to get their hands on these offenders for a piece of their mind.
These unnecessary water disruptions should stop for once and for all…