Sahabat Alam Malaysia (SAM) urges the Kedah state government to take stringent action against a rice miller who has been disposing and burning paddy husk in Kampung Tengku Langkasama near Kuala Kedah. The burning of paddy husk has resulted in serious air pollution here.
In addition to the dust and ash flying in the air surrounding the nearby village and housing estate, the problem also causes malodour, skin diseases among the local community and destroys mangroves in the area.
Last July, SAM sent letters to the local authority, Land and Mines Office, Department of Environment and Kedah State Secretary’s Office requesting urgent action to be taken to resolve the pollution problem.
However SAM is distressed after reading a recent report in a local newspaper (Sinar Harian: 6 August 2014), which stated that the problem is not only still pending but has worsened.
The villagers here claimed that the rice miller has acted in vengeance by piling the paddy husk higher by the day and now the situation has become so bad here.
SAM believes that if the problem is left unresolved, not only the lives of the villagers will be seriously threatened in the future, but it will bring about imminent adverse effects affecting their health especially among children, the environment and the mangrove forest. The road users in this area will also be affected as the paddy husk is heaped and burned by the road side.
“We wonder how the rice mill operator can arbitrarily dump and burn paddy husk in this area regardless of health and safety of the residents, besides adversely affecting the environment. How can this indiscriminate and unlawful activity go on? Which authority consents and gives approval?” asks SAM President, Mr S.M. Mohamed Idris.
SAM urges the government to investigate and enforce relevant laws stringently and promptly. This kind of cases should not persist to the detriment of the environment, health and safety of local communities.
Press Statement, 12 August 2014