Undeveloped Penampang land becomes illegal dumpsite
Published on: Friday, February 19, 2021
By: Sidney Skinner
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Smaller piles of rubbish could be found on the land in September 2020, with some parties even open burning here.
The District Council is in the process of trying to identify the errant parties who have been indiscriminately disposing of their rubbish on an undeveloped piece of land in one part of Penampang.

This action follows a complaint from a rate-payer who feared that an “open space” along the housing road where she lives was becoming an illegal garbage dump.

She provided Hotline with the location of the dump which was forwarded to the agency.

A Council spokesman said its staff found piles of chopped branches and discarded wood on the land during an inspection which was made in the second week of February.

“From the charred remnants on the property, our staff noted that some of this rubbish was being incinerated,” he said. 

“The area where this garden and renovation waste has been thrown is government land which belongs to the Council.”

He said the relevant section had been informed about this irregularity and was arranging to have this waste removed. 

“Notices will also be issued to homeowners in the area, warning them to refrain from littering and misusing this property to open burn.” 

He said further action would be taken against those who defied these instructions under the Local Government Ordinance 1961.

When asked to elaborate on these penalties, however, the spokesman declined to comment.

“We will monitor the goings-on here in an attempt to nab the culprits red handed.

As of February this year, the piles of garden and renovation waste in the open space. 

“Rate-payers can also facilitate this effort by contacting us directly if they have any information about the litter bugs, including those who are open burning.”

PRUE of Penampang said she first noticed the piles of garden and renovation waste on the land in September last year.

“It has become a habit for some occupants to prune their trees or cut their grass and then pile up their cuttings in this area,” she said.

“I fear that this open space has been transformed into an illegal garbage dump.” 

On top making the area look unsightly, she also voiced her concerns about the potential fire-hazards posed by those who burned their waste on this land.

“If they fail to look after the fire, the blaze could get out off control. Should that happen all our homes would be at risk of burning down.” 

Prue also expressed her displeasure about the pollution caused by the open burning activities.

She decried the nuisance created by the smoke wafting into her home from the direction of the open-space.

“The soot and the smell of the smoke gets into my home,” she said. 

“I have forked out a substantial amount of money on air-fresheners just to get rid off the stench as I dare not open the windows at the back.”

She said she had taken to drying her washing in her front porch since the burning began “months ago”.

Prue said, off late, these activities seemed to be getting out of hand.

“On a recent public holiday, smoke from a burning pile of rubbish could be seen at around 4pm,” she said.

“I related my observations to one of my neighbours who was also unhappy about these goings-on.

“He told me that he had seen the occupant of a home two doors away tending to the fire.”

Prue appealed to the local authorities to intervene on this matter before anything unpleasant occurred and someone came to harm or worse.

The spokesman said the Council was aware of the problem in September involving the open space.

“An oversight on the part of the contractor, tasked with collecting the garden waste from the area, was to blame for this,” he said.

“The individual had piled up the trimmings on the government land, with the intention of transporting this waste away later.”

Because of the delay in clearing this rubbish, some of those living there took matters into their hands and began incinerating this waste, according to him.

“The contractor had the garden waste taken away from the open space shortly afterwards.  

“He was chided, at the time, for failing to remove this waste sooner and instructed to adhere to the schedule which the Council had drawn up for this work.”

The Department of the Environment (DOE) was informed about Prue’s grievance.

A DOE spokeswoman said the Department would have to verify her claims. 

“Our staff will inspect the road to determine if there are any traces of the incinerated rubbish,” she said.

“If so, we will have to monitor the goings-on here to try and catch the culprits.”

Under the Environmental Quality Act, those caught open-burning can be slapped with a compound of up to RM2, 000.

Should legal action be initiated, the offenders risk having to settle a maximum fine of RM500, 000, serve a maximum jail term of five years or both.


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