Defuse illegal dumping ‘time bombs’, says institute


TO AVOID another Sungai Kim Kim incident where toxic waste was dumped into the river, the government should seek out and eradicate illegal dump sites because they are time bombs with the potential to cause long-term harm, said National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) chairman, Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye (picture).

“I term illegal dumping as time bombs. We’ve talked about Pasir Gudang but how about other places I am very worried. I’m sure other states have a chemical industry, too,” he said to reporters at the close of a Johor 2019 World Day for Safety and Health at Work seminar yesterday.

Lee said he hopes the authorities, particularly the agencies, will be more proactive in tracking down illegal waste sites and taking action so that something bad doesn’t happen.

Therefore, he recommended the implementation of a proper chemical management system and a “cradle-to-grave” strategy which involves taking charge of the process till waste is disposed of, at the same time citing a comprehensive monitoring programme under the US Environmental Protection Agency for hazardous waste.

“A vital element for an effective plan, among other things, is having a proper inventory of all chemicals, a strategy to minimise purchasing chemicals and finding less toxic materials, developing a proper storage and labelling system, as well as identifying materials for disposal and using the right removal method, including recycling,” he said.

He advised chemical companies to support industry self-monitoring and implement the Responsible Care initiative which was adopted by Malaysia in 1994, is overseen by the Chemical Industries Council of Malaysia and “is an ethic and commitment that builds confidence and trust in the global chemical industry”.

Apart from this, companies must pinpoint the right training and personal protective equipment for those carrying out maintenance and environmental cleanups. — Bernama