Chemical dump found in estate near Pontian (Updated)

PONTIAN: Hundreds of barrels of liquid believed to be chemical waste have been dumped near an oil palm estate in Parit Sikom near here for the past three years.

Pekan Nanas DAP state assemblyman Yeo Tung Siong today said today said plants in the surrounding area had died and the chemical posed a health hazard to villagers nearby.

Villagers had lodged several complaints with the authorities including the Health Department, but to no avail, he added.

Hundreds of acres of the estate were affected by trees dying and lower production of fruits reported.

There are about 20 smallholders working at the estate and nearly 1,000 villagers residing near it.

Yeo said the authorities have neglected the hazardous aspect of the chemical, adding that he has learnt two villagers are suffered end-stage lung cancer.

He urged the Department of Environment (DOE) to take immediate action against those responsible for the illegal dumping of the hazardous waste.

Johor DOE director Datuk Dr Mohammad Ezanni Mat Salleh said the case will be investigated under Section 34B of Environmental Quality Act 1974. Stern action will be taken against the offenders, he added