Zuraida Kamaruddin visit on Tuesday to several illegal factories processing the plastic waste sourced from overseas and unauthorised sites where the materials were dumped did nothing to put fear in the operators. (BERNAMA)

SHAH ALAM: A Kuala Langat-based environmental group has called for a concerted effort by the authorities to immediately halt all plastic waste processing activities in the district which are causing air pollution and endangering the lives of the local community.

A spokesperson of the Kuala Langat Action Group, which was set up to highlight the issue to the authorities, said little has changed since the recent visit by the Housing and Local Government minister, Zuraida Kamaruddin, who had addressed the issue and ordered a meeting to be called in a weeks’ time.

The spokesperson, who declined to be named, said Zuraida’s visit on Tuesday to several illegal factories processing the plastic waste sourced from overseas and unauthorised sites where the materials were dumped did nothing to put fear in the operators.

“Our observation showed that there are still illegal factories processing the plastic waste and there are still containers being sent to the premises. The factory operators know we are watching them and they have also changed their operating hours.

“It is high time that the authorities such as the Kuala Langat Municipal Council (MDKL), the Department of Environment and the district and land office take stern action against the illegal operators. I think there is a lack of supervision here and the culprits should not be given just a slap on the wrist.

“The district office should seal the illegal premises immediately and penalise the land owners for allowing such activities to take place on the property,” he told the New Straits Times Press today.

He added that members of the group were actively monitoring the activities taking place at the illegal factories in a bid to build a strong case with hopes that the authorities will put a stop to it the soonest possible.

Proof such as photographic and video evidences were being collected to show that illegal factory operators did not fear the authorities, he said.

On Tuesday, Zuraida had called for a ministerial level meeting to be held with 54 factories processing plastic waste operating in MDKL’s jurisdiction, out of which 13 were licensed after they were legalised by the state government while 17 had been ordered to shut.

Following a coordination meeting at the municipal council, Zuraida ordered a meeting to be held with all parties on Oct 2 and it will be chaired by the National Solid Waste Management Department director-general Ismail Mokhtar.

Zuraida said in the Oct 2 meeting, discussions would revolve around finding ways to dispose the existing plastic waste at the illegal factories, taking over of the materials from unlicensed parties by licensed factories and the time frame of the actions.