Thousands fuming over dumpsite fire

GEORGE TOWN - Thousands of residents affected by poor air quality caused by billowing smoke from a peat fire at the Jelutong dumpsite have called for action to stop the pollution.

They are upset with the state government and local authorities over the slow pace to put out the raging underground fire.

Many took the state and Penang Island Municipal Council (MPPP) to task for failing to deal with the problem effectively and demanded that the dumpsite be closed.

The fire, which started two weeks ago, had temporarily subsided. But lately, burning was visible again despite efforts to extinguish the flames. A check yesterday saw thick smoke billowing from the dumpsite.

Residents of six condominiums near the site gathered at a dialogue session to voice their plight to the state and local authorities.

Nor Azman Othman, who represented Spring Condominium residents, wanted a timeframe to put out the peat fire after enduring foul stench for two weeks.

He said the underground burning had been ongoing and called for a ban on dumping construction and flammable materials at the dumpsite.

"We are concerned about the timeline required to sort out the peat fire and it is in our best interest to close the dumpsite.

"Our observations show that the site has been expanding and is encroaching on surrounding areas," said Nor Azman, adding that the residents also hoped to see a long-term solution.

State Health, Welfare, Caring Society and Environment Committee chairman Phee Boon Poh said the fire was caused by scavengers who burned wires to extract copper.

He said MPPP had removed flammable materials and wood waste from the site.

"We wish there was an overnight solution but unfortunately, there is none. So, we need more time to do the job," Phee said, adding that MPPP Engineering Department personnel had travelled to China to look for equipment to process construction waste at project sites.

The residents handed over a petition to Phee and representatives of MPPP to resolve the peat fire and traffic complaints.

Read more: Thousands fuming over dumpsite fire - General - New Straits Times

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