Trash piles up in Tioman as brand new incinerator remains idle

Trash piles up in Tioman as brand new incinerator remains idle

SINGAPORE - Sporty Singaporeans might head to Tioman island for water sports like snorkelling and diving, but they might now be driven away by the smell of rotting garbage.

The accumulated rubbish from the seven villages on the island lies in piles around a new waste incinerator which is yet to open.

Whenever Mr Supardi Mastra opens his kitchen window, a swarm of flies swoop in. His house on Tioman island has a view of garbage spilling over a hilltop, reported The Star.

"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 from the garbage.

The waste incinerator was completed last December but has remained non-operational.

Located on a hilltop, it was built 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 on the mainland.

The plant cannot open because a certificate of completion and compliance has yet to be issued by a consultant.

"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 Mr Supardi.

Another resident, Ms Aini Latif, said: "We have an old incinerator that is no longer usable and a new one that is still untouched. It makes me wonder if such facilities are up to par and if we are trained to operate them."

She is appalled by the sight of trash tumbling down the hill, which she spotted after visiting her grandmother's grave at a cemetery nearby.

"I had to wade through the rubbish to reach the grave. When it rains, foul wastewater seeps into the ground but we don't have proof to say how bad (the pollution) is. It's shameful if tourists were to see this eyesore. I'm sad to see this happening on Tioman," said Ms Aini.

This article was first published on Sep 16, 2014.
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