Monday June 18, 2012
Phee: Long-term solution needed to prevent peat fires at dumpsite
GEORGE TOWN: The Jelutong dumpsite is an ‘inherited’ problem that should never have occurred, claimed Penang State Health, Welfare, Caring Society and Environmental Committee chairman Phee Boon Poh.
Claiming that the 20-year-old dumpsite was created under the former state administration, he said the problem of peat fires would now require a holistic, long-term solution.
“The dumpsite started in 1992 and is not a proper landfill. It is not covered, no membranes were placed and no methane gas piping was ever installed.
“Because of this, we now have a dumpsite with a terrifying build-up of methane gas liable to peat fires,” he told residents during a meeting at The Spring condominium.
At the meeting, organised to discuss a peat fire that had been raging at the dumpsite for the past two weeks, Phee said he accepted the responsibility of cleaning it up but would not take the blame for its establishment.
He said to solve the problem, Penang needed a strong move towards a zero waste policy, measures to process waste at source and landfill mining at the Jelutong dumpsite.
“As we speak, there are two representatives from the Penang Municipal Council and Seberang Prai Municipal Council in Shanghai sourcing for equipment that will enable industrial waste to be treated and reused on site.”
However, this measure without the co-operation of the community would not be enough, said Phee, adding that homes had to start moving towards a zero waste policy too.
To a renewed call by residents for the Jelutong dumpsite to be closed, he said that the mere closure of the haphazard landfill would not solve any problems.