Thursday, 30 August 2007

Palm oil mills dumping waste, minister promises action

Wednesday August 29, 2007

Palm oil mills dumping waste, minister promises action, Star newspaper, Malaysia


KOTA KINABALU: Some palm oil mill operators are allegedly dumping waste into Sabah rivers, prompting a pledge from a state minister to personally track down these "recalcitrants."

State Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Masidi Manjum said he intended to carry out surprise spot checks on such mills around the state.

"These checks would give me a better picture of what the actual situation is on the ground," he said Wednesday after a two-day trip to the east coast Kinabatangan district.

He said he came across a palm oil mill there discharging effluent into the tributary of the nation's second longest waterway.

"The water in the river stank. You don't need to be scientist to know that there was something wrong there," Masidi said.

He added that he had told the mill operator to "clean up his act" in six weeks or face action from the Department of Environment.

Masidi said he intended to begin the state-wide surprise checks after the upcoming Hari Raya celebrations. He said that while some palm oil mill operators in the state had complied with a ruling requiring them to treat their effluent as of June last year, others had not.

In this regard, Masidi said those flouting environmental regulations should expect to face "tougher days" in the future as the enforcement unit of the state Environmental Conservation Department (ECD) was being beefed with an additional 14 personnel.