No danger to residents so waste facility can go on

SEREMBAN - The Kualiti Alam Integrated Scheduled Waste facility will continue to operate in Sendayan near here although a massive fire at its three godowns housing hazardous material on Friday caused panic among the people.

Negri Sembilan Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Mohamad Hasan said the 56ha facility, the only one of its kind in the country, did not pose any danger to residents in the vicinity.

He said the plant, which received its first load in 1996 and recently upgraded its technology, had complied with safety measures imposed by the state government and enforcement agencies.

"We directed the plant management to upgrade their technology as a condition to renew their licence some time ago and they did.

"They no longer use the burning method to treat waste. They now use the oven method, which is safer," he told reporters here yesterday.

The fire, which could be seen from several kilometres away, resulted in thick black smoke engulfing the area.

Personnel from the Fire and Rescue Department and other agencies contained the flames in about three hours.

The plant, which can store and treat more than 100,000 tonnes of all classes of hazardous waste at any one time, is now owned by Khazanah Nasional.

Kualiti Alam, which is the only prescribed premises in the country to provide complete off-site scheduled waste management from collection, transportation, analyses and treatment to final disposal, was previously owned by the UEM Group.

Mohamad refuted claims by netizens that the fire could have adverse effects in the long term. "People should not blindly believe whatever is posted on the social media," he said.

"Rest assured, we are extremely concerned for your well-being and would not allow any activity which could pose a risk to your health to operate in your backyard."

Meanwhile, Department of Environment director-general Datuk Halimah Hassan said her officers were monitoring the air quality at six separate locations near the plant since the incident.

"The readings show that the air quality is at safe levels," she said.