Waste incinerator in Tioman Island built, but trash piles up.

Waste incinerator in Tioman Island built, but trash piles up.
Rubbish dumped outside the waste incinerator on Tioman Island, which has yet to start operating.

MALAYSIA - After a delay of over three years, the waste incinerator in Tioman Island is finally built; but it remains unopened, leading to smelly trash being strewn all over.

Whenever Supardi Mastra opens his kitchen window, a mass of flies invades the space. It is inevitable - his house in Kampung Air Hantu of Tioman Island opens up to a view of garbage spilling over a hilltop.

"We usually keep the windows open when we cook. That's when hordes of flies swarm in," says the 42-year-old boat skipper. Compounding his misery is the foul smell that emanates from the garbage.

Rubbish that is collected from seven villages on the island is dumped there, in front of a waste incinerator that was completed last December but has remained non-operational.

The new incinerator is to replace a smaller and older one which broke down a few years ago. However, the delay in its completion - by over 1,000 days - resulted in trash being carried by barge once a month for disposal in the mainland.

"Rubbish gets even more during peak seasons when there are many tourists. What's the point of constructing a multi-million dollar facility that does not function like it is supposed to? It's just sheer wastage," says Supardi.

Another resident, Aini Latif, also questions why the new incinerator lies unused.

"We have an old incinerator that is no longer usable and a new one this is still untouched. It makes me wonder if such facilities are up to par and if we are trained to operate them."

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