Unresolved air pollution, coating factory allegedly emitting toxic fumes

Mohamed Basyir

GEORGE TOWN: Residents of Kampung Tok Subuh in Bukit Minyak have turned to Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow to help settle a long-standing issue.

For the last four years, they have been having sleepless nights, no thanks to a coating factory which allegedly emits toxic fumes.

Ong Chin Giap, 45, and 10 of his family members who are staying about 40m away from the factory, have called on Chow to intervene and hear him out.

He said he had lodged 10 reports with the relevant state departments and agencies and held more than 10 press conferences but to no avail.

He claimed that he and his wife suffered from skin-related problems while their three children were often down with sore throat, believed to be due to the deteriorating air surrounding their home.

“Now my family members have moved out, but my parents are still there. There seems to be no end to this problem.

“It has been four years since the issue started, yet my pleas have fallen on deaf ears,” he told newsmen here today.

Ong, accompanied by Penang Parti Rakyat Malaysia chairman Tang Hiang Lye, handed a complaint letter together with a report on the air quality at the area, to the Chief Minister.

They were received by Chief Minister’s Office information officer Zahar Zainul.

Meanwhile, Tang said Ong had forked out his own money to engage an independent consultant to conduct an air quality test.

“The report suggested that there is presence of barium and strontium, which indicats that the air in the area is not suitable for residents to live there.

“This matter has been prolonged for too long. We want the Chief Minister to come to the ground and take a look at this,” he said.

When contacted, state Environment Committee chairman Phee Boon Poh said the factory adhered to the standard under the Environmental Quality (Clean Air) Regulations 2014.

Referring to the letter by the Department of Environment (DOE), he said that the factory even installed air pollution control system in the factory.

DOE also conducted an analysis on the emissions from the three chimneys in the factory, with the recent one on April 3, and the result showed that it still compiled with the regulations.

“The department had again conducted similar checks at the factory and found it still complied with the Environmental Quality Act 1974,” he added. © New Straits Times Press (M) Bhd