NST – Streets, by Sheila Sri Priya
Despite being treated the mining pool still emits a foul odour.
PETALING JAYA: Something strange is happening in the PJS 3 area here.
Residents say that coins in their homes have become darker. Brass and copper ware rust faster and more of them are diagnosed with asthma.
And they are pointing their fingers at an unattended former mining pool which is filled with domestic and toxic waste. It also reeks with a stench similar to rotten eggs.
They claim it is hazardous.
Desa Sepakat flat resident, Roslina Ghani said her coins have turned dark.
“The air here is so polluted. It smells awful and becomes worse during the rainy season,” she said, adding that she lives in the area as the rental is cheap.
Ernee Marianna Shdon lives in Pangsapuri Petaling Pertama, which is 300 metres away from the infamous pool.
She is unable to get rid of the smell even with her car windows closed and air conditioning on.
Sometimes, she said the entire Taman Sri Manja area smells of rotten eggs.
According to a source from the Selangor state government, the former mining pool has been a dumping ground for many developers.
“Some of them had also dumped toxic waste,” she said.
In 2002, due to the accumulated waste, the pool started emitting a foul stench. The Selangor government had then spent some RM5 million to treat the pool, the source said.
She added that about 80 per cent of the pool has undergone reclamation work.
“However, the balance is still exposed and produces hydrogen sulfide which causes the surrounding area to stink,” she said.
She added that the air pollution worsened in 2003 as the amount of hydrogen sulfide went up to 60 ppm (parts-per-million) which is considered dangerous.
In 2004, the Department of Environment started treating the pool by adding in chemicals and later switched to a more environmentally friendly treatment by using bio-degradable items.
“Now the amount of hydrogen sulfide is below 5ppm,” she said.
But despite the treatment, the place still stinks.
Taman Medan assemblywoman Haniza Talha said the developers should be held responsible.
She said errant developers have dumped tonnes of waste into the mining pool, instead of stone debris as recommended by the state government.
She said the authorities should locate these developers for not covering the pool.
“On rainy days, the odour is unbearable,” she said adding that residents have also complained of breathing problems.
She said the residents also claim that their home appliances rust easily.
Haniza has urged the Petaling Jaya City Council and the state government to carefully monitor the activities at the pool although it has already been fenced up.
The whole area is surrounded with zinc fences.
She wants the residents who are mostly from poor families to have a better living environment.
Ramli Dol, who has been living in Pangsapuri Desa Sepakat for three years, is also affected by the foul stench.
“The contractor in charge of treating the pool told me the procedure was stopped beginning this year.
“We are worried the smell may return in a month or two,” said Ramli.
Thousands of residents in the Taman Medan and the New Pantai Expressway road users passing Taman Medan are exposed to the pollution from this contaminated pool.