Make waste recycling essential, operators urge MITI

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GEORGE TOWN – Waste treatment plant operators are urging the government to allow them to operate, saying plastic and chemical waste stored in their factories can become a hazard to the environment and put residents at risk.

In calling for the International Trade and Industry Ministry (Miti) to consider their plea, they said under the movement control order (MCO), only industries categorised as essential services are allowed to operate.

This comes in light of a fire early today at a recycling plant in Simpang Ampat, Nibong Tebal, that culminated in 70% of the plant being destroyed in the 4am incident.

A recycling plant managing director, who declined to be named, said the government should allow recycling plants to operate and recognise them as essential services as large stocks of recycled items are flammable when stored for too long.

He said if the government can allow the electrical and electronics (E&E) factories to operate during the movement control order (MCO), then it should allow supporting industries to collect and treat recycling waste.

“Recycling waste treatment plants are allowed to collect waste from E&E plants, including multinational companies. Collectible items are stored in treatment plants.

“Storing recycled waste in a premise for a long period will eventually become a fire hazard and lead to the emission of contaminated air in the plant, putting workers and residents in the area of the premises at risk,” he said.

Malaysian Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry president Datuk N. Gobalakrishnan said stored waste does indeed discharge emissions, eventually becoming a fire hazard.

“Miti should review its decision to include recycling plants into the essential services category, otherwise, it will eventually affect the operations of multinationals in the country, which involve a large number of employees.

“We must also remember that most of recycling plants are involved in treating plastic as well as electronic waste from overseas, which are imported here for waste treatment and, if delayed, could lead to accumulated waste in the country.” – The Vibes, July 7, 2021