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Jungle used as dumpsite for years, complaints to council 'pushed' aside

Residents living near the Orang Asli Hospital along Jalan Gombak are disgusted and disturbed by a group that uses their once pristine jungle as a dumping ground.

Despite efforts to persuade the Selayang Municipal Council (SMC) to intervene, the problem has escalated and lately, a large number of food delivery items have been added to the waste pollution that is fouling the jungle.

Resident Major Kalam Pie, who is the CEO of Jungle School Gombak, said the dumping occurs with great frequency and began many years ago.

"It happens almost every day, usually at night. The local council (SMC) appointed a company to take care of this route. The contractor will normally send a backhoe loader to push all the rubbish into the ravine.

"Since 2011, the Jungle School Gombak has coordinated and organised (jungle- clearing activities) almost every quarter of the year with different NGOs, universities and schools."

However, according to him, the problem has escalated in recent times.

"They use it as a free dumping ground," he told Malaysiakini.

"I have never met any of them. But some cyclists managed to capture their lorry registration number and sent it to the SMC for further action," said Kalam.

"The authorities and Selangor state government are well aware of this problem, but to my knowledge have done very little apart from pushing the rubbish into the ravine."

He is concerned that the build-up pf rubbish will lead to the spread of disease and the contamination of the water supply.

"For sure this rubbish will attract rats (leptospirosis), wild boars (JE virus, Nipah virus), mosquitoes (dengue, malaria), and will contaminate Gombak river since every stream here is a tributary to the Gombak river.

In 2015, it was one of 10 illegal dumpsites in the Gombak district that operated despite then Selangor menteri besar Azmin Ali (above) ordering the SMC to take action.

These sites included 60 areas where garbage had been thrown indiscriminately.

Measuring between 4ha and 7ha each, the dumpsites were reported to be located in Sungai Pusu, Batu 8 Gombak, Kundang, Kuang, Kepong, Batu Caves, Rawang and Batu Arang.

Pensioner Aleg Along shares Kalam's fears, saying that it started many years ago and there has been no action or responsibility taken by government agencies.

"This is happening because people have no responsibility and a low mentality.

"We cannot confront those dumping the rubbish without the government agency. If we try to stop them, we get the blame. We are scared to do anything.

"If government agencies give permission to people without responsibility, it will continue to happen for a long time," he said.

The dumping near the hospital in Gombak was most recently highlighted by Andy Hickson (above), Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Communication at HELP University.

Hickson, who is of British extraction, but spent part of his adolescence growing up with the Temiar in Kelantan, was on a hike in the area when he encountered the garbage strewn everywhere.

"I am always shocked when I see rubbish polluting the land on an industrial scale. I was disturbed to see waste obviously from a non-domestic source being dumped in the jungle.

"I could see that there were many layers of waste, and was told by passers-by that whenever the local council was informed, they just used a bulldozer to push it down the hill further into the jungle.

"While I was there taking photos of the rubbish, I noticed a lot of ‘Food Panda’ waste amongst a lot of other rubbish," said Hickson who made a short video and took photographs to highlight the dumping.

"Children were playing nearby and a troop of monkeys was scavenging in the rubbish.

"Some of the rubbish had reached and had polluted the river. I felt sick to my stomach, and even worse when the locals told me it has been going on for years and no one appears to do anything about it," said Hickson.

Malaysiakini is attempting to contact the Selayang Municipal Council and Food Panda for their response.

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