Plastic waste recycling factories sanctioned by DoE

28 Nov 2019 / 11:35 H.

SUNGAI PETANI: Like an infection, the plastic waste malice has spread beyond the ports.

Recycling plants in this industrial town have become the latest flashpoint of this environmental problem.

The irony is that the 50 recycling plants here have been sanctioned by the Department of Environment after having passed stringent requirements imposed by the authority.

However, their operations have inadvertently caused pollution in the area, according to two former assemblyman, Lydia Ong Kok Fooi and Dr T. Krishnan.

Residents in the area have complained for years of air, water and ground pollution but nothing has been done.

The recycling process involves subjecting the low grade plastic waste to high temperatures to turn it into resin.

However, toxins are released in the process. Ong, who was the PKR assemblyman for Bukit Berapit, said these toxins have either escaped into the atmosphere or seeped into the ground and water resources.

According to the Consumers Association of Penang, the housing estates most badly affected by the pollution are Bandar Seri Astana, Taman Ria Jaya, Taman Petani Jaya, Taman Sejahtera, Taman Berangan, Taman Seri Wang, Taman Intan, Taman Nilam, Taman Seraya, Cinta Sayang Resort Homes, Resort Villas and Taman Keladi.

Despite numerous complaints lodged with the various authorities over the years, nothing has been done to address the problem.

There is a lot at stake on both sides of the divide.

While the residents are concerned about their personal well-being, players in the recycling business are raking in billions of ringgit to turn the waste into useful products.

It is believed the annual turnover of the plastic waste recycling industry is as high as RM4.5 billion.

Malaysia became one of the biggest importers of plastic waste for recycling after China banned the import of 24 different types of solid waste including plastics, textile and paper products on Jan 1 last year.

Until then, China accounted for the largest share of the world’s recycling business.

Last week, the United Kingdom agreed to take back 42 containers of plastic waste that had been imported illegally into Malaysia.

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