Clean, smoke-free waste disposal system- but how about the cancer-causing dioxin?


Media Statement
by Ronnie Liu Tian Khiew

(Penang, Sunday): The Ministry of Housing & Local Government under the ministership of MCA President Datuk Seri Ong Ka Ting has been avoiding the Broga/ Beranang/ Semenyih residents on the issue of Broga incinerator for the past six months.

Ong has repeatedly turned down the invitation from the Broga people for a dialogue, citing excuse such as "not to pre-empt the EIA report".

But Ong did not honour his promise. He did not wait for the release of the EIA report, but instead has chosen to run a series of 2-paged advertisements in all major newspapers from yesterday, trying to convince every Malaysian that the incinerator is "clean, smoke -free waste disposal system".Ong must now explain to the Broga people why he has "jumped the gun" on this issue.

The first page carried a headline" Enough trash to fill a football stadium in a day!" with a subhead that says, " advanced countries world-wide resort to thermal treatment to get rid of trash. It is a cleaner, safer method to using open dumps."

The advertisement itself is a real trash! Advanced countries world-wide did resort to thermal treatment to get rid of trash. But that is a thing of the past. They have now realised that the by-products of the thermal treatment such as dioxin and other heavy metals can caused cancer, asthma and other serious illnesses. They have since then closing down these thermal plants and stop building new ones. It is a despicable and dishonourable act on the part of the ministry for it has chosen to lie on this important fact.

The second page carried a full-colour illustration of the gassification ash-melting thermal plant, with a headline that says " clean, smoke-free waste disposal system".

The incinerator is indeed "smoke-free" as particles such as dioxin, lead, mercury and other toxic gases are not as dark as carbon. Besides the emission of dioxin and other toxic gasses, the large amount of ashes produced by the incinerator is full of dioxin and other heavy metals. These are not only unclean and unsafe, it is actually highly poisonous and known to cause cancer and other serious diseases. According to the information given by the government, all these ashes will be buried in the dumpsite nearby. Just imagine how dioxin and other toxic waste seep through the underground water system and eventually converge with the rivers in the Semenyih water catchment area. Please do not forget that more than 1.5 million residents in the Klang Valley and Putrajaya depend on the water supply from the Semenyih area.

Again this advertisement carried a subhead that says, " Most European countries and Japan have integrated waste management systems that include recycling, thermal treatment and landfill options". In actual fact, most Europeans countries and Japan have now realised about the grave consequences of thermal treatment technology, and they have decided to shut down their incinerators in stages. Country like the Philippines has even passed a law to ban all incinerators.

DAP has been calling the Malaysian government not to bulldoze the incinerator project in Malaysia. The government should adopt the "zero waste management" method adopted by many advanced countries. We have
presented this alternative method in two memorandums to the government, one to the Ministry of Environment, Science and Technology, and the other one to the Ministry of Housing and Local Government.

DAP has also presented many reports and information on the negative consequences of thermal treatment/ incineration method both in and outside the Parliament.

The ministry of Housing and Local government should not use the money of the rakyat to run advertising campaigns to hoodwink the rakyat. No other country in the world dares to risk building the world's largest incinerator in a water catchment area except Malaysia. This is sheer madness and stupidity!


* Ronnie Liu Tian Khiew, DAP national publicity secretary