D-G: Older landfills have no EIA

Posted on September 17, 2010. Filed under: Waste |

-The Star-By SEREAN LAU sereanlau@thestar.com.my

PETALING JAYA: Many landfills allowed to be located upstream of rivers do not meet environment impact assessment (EIA) guidelines, National Solid Waste Management director-general Datuk Dr Nadzri Yahaya said.

He said 16 landfills situated in catchment areas, near water intake points or near the sea were built before the Environ­ment Quality Act 1974 was enforced.

“Under the Act, all landfills must have detailed EIAs.

“However, the EIA requirement was enforced only in 1987. Therefore, all landfills before that year did not practise it.

“My department is upgrading some of the landfills which have caused environmental pollution, and once new sites are identified, these landfills will be closed,” he told The Star.

Dr Nadzri said that besides sanitary landfills, the department was looking at other types of treatment and disposal sites.

For instance, in islands such as Pangkor, Tioman, Langkawi and Labuan, the department built incinerators.

It was reported in The Star recently that a “failed” retention wall at a sanitary landfill caused leachate to seep into Sungai Beranang and Sungai Kembong, which are intake points for the Semenyih water treatment plant in Selangor.

The plant, which usually produces up to 600 million litres of treated water per day, recorded at least 6.41mg of ammonia per litre, which was five times the Health Ministry’s maximum recommendation of 1.5mg of ammonia per litre.

In a recent interview, waste management specialist Dr Theng Lee Chong emphasised the importance of strict regulation of landfills under the Environment Quality Act.

“It is obvious that concrete solutions must be found and we should not delay any longer.

“However, it is not easy to close landfills immediately as we will not know where the waste will go after that.”

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