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No burning at open spaces in Penampang
Published on: Wednesday, March 03, 2021
By: Sidney Skinner
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An open truck was deployed to the area to remove the waste.
Penampang home-owners risk being slapped with a compound of up to RM500 if they are caught open-burning in their respective areas.

A District Council spokesman said such action could be taken in extreme cases, under the agency’s Anti-Litter By-Law 1984.

“The culprits can also be deemed to have contravened the Local Government Ordinance 1961,” he said.

“Ratepayers will initially be verbally advised not to incinerate any rubbish in their neighbourhoods.”

If they failed to comply with these instructions, then notices would be served to these home-owners, according to him. The spokesman said those living in Taman Sindo received written warnings from the Council in February.

Waste was piled up on this open space in Taman Sindo.

 

This action was prompted by the discovery that an open space in the housing area was being misused as an illegal dump where garbage was frequently incinerated.

The spokesman said the Council cleared the refuse and advised those living near the open space against open-burning on this land in October last year. At the beginning of February, the agency was alerted by Hotline that incineration activities were still being carried out on this government land. 

The spokesman said the Council’s staff found piles of chopped branches and discarded wood on the property when they inspected the area in the second week of that month.

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

“The open space, where this garden and renovation waste has been thrown, belongs to the Council.” He said the relevant section had been informed about the presence of the refuse.

“An open truck was deployed to the area on the last Saturday of February to remove this garbage.”

He said the Council’s personnel would periodically keep an eye on the goings-on in the neighbourhood to try and nab the litter bugs, as well as the errant parties who were incinerating their waste there.

 “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.”

HUGH, who lives in Taman Sindo, said he first noticed the piles of garden and renovation waste on the open space 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,” he said.

“I fear that this open space has been transformed into an illegal garbage dump.”  On top making the area look unsightly, he also voiced his 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.” 

Hugh also expressed his displeasure about the pollution caused by the open burning activities. He decried the nuisance created by the smoke wafting into his home from the direction of the open-space.

The open space after it had been cleaned.

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

He said he had taken to drying his washing in his front porch since the burning began “months ago”.

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

A spokeswoman for the Department of the Environment (DOE) said anyone who insisted on burning their rubbish faced the possibility of having to settle a maximum compound of RM2,000.

“This penalty can be imposed under our ordinance,” she said.

“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.” She said the Department’s officers would inspect the neighbourhood, from time to time, to determine whether the incineration nuisance persisted.

“If need be, we will arrange to have notices about the consequences of open-burning placed in mail-boxes of homes here,” the spokeswoman said. 



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