What a load of rubbish

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.”

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 will seep 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 at Tioman,” moans Aini.

The company Sumur Mutiara is the main contractor (builder and designer) of the Tioman incinerator, as well as another one in Cameron Highlands.

The technology provider for both plants is XCN Technology. The Tioman incinerator has a capacity of 15 tonnes per day, at a cost of RM520.70 per tonne.

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