PENANG, April 9 – Containers with plastic and waste are jamming up the Penang Port, says a businessman, calling for an immediate set up of a task force to look into the situation.
“There is an urgent need for a task force that can look into clearing the growing traffic of these containers that are potentially hazardous,” says Tham Soon Seong, a businessman and housing developer who once served as branch manager for the Danish shipping company, Maersk Line Sdn Bhd.
“These containers with waste and plastic will start to leak waste water and become toxic over time, and this will flow into the sea and cause pollution,” Tham told Weekly-Echo in an interview.
“It is just a disaster waiting to happen, considering the nearby residential areas, villages and if a fire happens that will just make matters worse,” said Tham, who is very familiar with Penang’s port operations, having served on the Penang Port Industry Consultative Committee from 1982 to 1992.
He said the former Minister of Energy, Technology, Science, Climate Change and Environment, Yeo Bee Yin had somewhat brought under control the issue of plastic pollution particularly that at the Penang port but the consistency was not there now.
Apart from a lack of attention on the issue by the port operators, he said there was also a lack of knowledge on the part of staff not connected to port activities.
They lack certain information and knowledge on the damages and consequences such containers storing plastic and waste could bring, he said, adding that those who had the information, especially port officers, may not be passing sufficient feedback to the relevant authorities or government agencies.
He called on the port authorities and customs department and related government agencies work together to regularly review the congestion issue and also come up with long term solutions to the problem.