DOE clears factory accused of emitting toxic fumes

Opalyn Mok
Phee Boon Poh said the DOE will be conducting regular checks on the factory to ensure that it complies with all environmental regulations. — Picture by Sayuti Zainudin

GEORGE TOWN, Aug 17 — A coating factory that allegedly emitted toxic fumes in Kampung Tok Subuh had complied with the Department of Environment (DOE) regulations, state executive councillor Phee Boon Poh said today.

The environmental, welfare and caring society committee chairman said the factory had installed additional air pollution control system in the premises.

“Based on an analysis of emission from all three chimneys in the factory, it complied with the standards set under Environmental Quality (Clean Air) Regulations 2014,” he said.

The DOE also conducted a check on the factory on April 3 again and found that the factory still complied with the Environmental Quality Act 1974.

Phee said the resident who complained that the factory was emitting toxic fumes had submitted an independent air quality report to the state government in April this year.

The report did not state which laboratory conducted the analysis and did not specify the samplings that were taken for analysis, the basis for the findings or the methodology used.

The DOE, in a letter to Phee on July 13, stated that such a report could not be considered as it was not conducted by a registered laboratory using standardised methods.

“When Ong Chin Giap submitted the report to us, despite it not having all these required information, we still ordered DOE to investigate and the factory was found to have complied with all DOE regulations,” he said.

Phee said this issue started in 2014 when the factory opened and Ong’s house was about 40m from it.

Ong’s house was the only residence in the industrial area.

Ong had submitted numerous complaints to the Machang Bubuk assemblyman Lee Khai Loon since 2014 and each time, DOE and Seberang Perai Municipal Council conducted checks on the factory.

Today, Ong was accompanied by Penang Parti Rakyat Malaysia chairman Tang Hiang Lye to submit a letter to Penang Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow.

“I just want the chief minister to come to my house and check for himself the foul smell from the factory we had to endure every day,” he said.

He also included a certificate of analysis on the air quality that claimed heavy metals and barium were detected from a sampling obtained at the house.

Ong claimed he had been living in that house from the day he was born.

“There were 11 of us including my parents and siblings living there, but most of us have to move out due to the air pollution from the factory,” he said.

He claimed his children often fell sick due to the air pollution.

Now, he said only his elderly parents continued living there and he wanted the authorities to do something to stop the air pollution from the factory.

“We have complained to the assemblyman and the state government more than 10 times and yet this issue was not resolved,” he said.

Phee said the DOE will be conducting regular checks on the factory to ensure that it complies with all environmental regulations.

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