Illegal plastic recycling factories in Jenjarom, Malasya

Residents in the Malaysian town of Jenjarom denounced the presence of many illegal recycling plastic factories that were causing the release of toxic fumes. These provoked respiratory and cutaneous diseases within the locals, both adults and children.


Description

Greenpeace stated that "Malaysia has become the world's rubbish bin", reporting that in 2018 this country imported 754 tonnes of plastic waste from 19 countries. 

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Basic Data
NameIllegal plastic recycling factories in Jenjarom, Malasya
CountryMalaysia
ProvinceKuala Langat District, Selangor State
SiteJenjarom
Accuracy of LocationHIGH local level
Source of Conflict
Type of Conflict (1st level)Waste Management
Type of Conflict (2nd level)Landfills, toxic waste treatment, uncontrolled dump sites
Specific CommoditiesDomestic municipal waste
Project Details and Actors
Project DetailsGreenpeace stated that "Malaysia has become the world's rubbish bin", reporting that in 2018 this country imported 754 tonnes of plastic waste from 19 countries.

Although the Malaysian government has shut down 33 factories, the 17,000 tonnes of rubbish left by these factories are still there - and this number is not insignificant for a town of 30,000 [3]. Most of this waste has been repossessed by the authorities, but a staggering 4,000 tonnes of waste plastic still sits on a single site - open to anyone who might walk by [5].
Type of PopulationUrban
Potential Affected Population30,000
Start Date01/08/2018
Environmental justice organisations and other supportersGreenpeace Malaysia (http://www.greenpeace.org/seasia/about-us/Malaysia/).

Kuala Langat Environmental Association
The Conflict and the Mobilization
Intensity of Conflict (at highest level)LOW (some local organising)
When did the mobilization beginIn REACTION to the implementation (during construction or operation)
Groups MobilizingNeighbours/citizens/communities
Forms of MobilizationCommunity-based participative research (popular epidemiology studies, etc..)
Creation of alternative reports/knowledge
Development of a network/collective action
Media based activism/alternative media
Official complaint letters and petitions
Public campaigns
Impacts
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Air pollution
Potential: Global warming
OtherThe toxic fumes released by the illegal factories were visible and perceptible by the residents of Jenjarom.
Health ImpactsPotential: Exposure to unknown or uncertain complex risks (radiation, etc…)
OtherThe presence of illegal factories caused the exposure of locals to uncertain and unknown risks until the source of the problem has been discovered.
Socio-economic ImpactsPotential: Increase in Corruption/Co-optation of different actors, Displacement, Increase in violence and crime
OtherLocal activists had to secretly film at night the activities of the factories in order to denounce the phenomenon. The presence of these illegal plants could have increased local violence and corruption. Also, the health problems and the strong smell caused by the factories could have produced the abandon of the town by local people.
Outcome
Project StatusIn operation
Pathways for conflict outcome / responseEnvironmental improvements, rehabilitation/restoration of area
New legislation
Do you consider this as a success?Yes
Why? Explain briefly.Although the Malaysian government shut down 33 illegal factories so far, the 17,000 tonnes of rubbish left by these factories are still there[3]. Most of this waste has been repossessed by the authorities, but a staggering 4,000 tonnes of waste plastic still sits on a single site - open to anyone who might walk by [5].

Nevertheless, this event produces a consciousness within the residents about the environmental and the health risks caused by the presence of the illegal factories. In fact, the activists involved in the denouncements referred that "these illegal factories can be very sneaky. They will pop up again in more hidden locations, so we have to continuously hunt for them" [4], showing that they are inclined in moving on with their fight whenever needed.
Sources and Materials
References

'The recycling myth' Greenpeace Report
[click to view]

Links

[3] Malaysia plastic pollution: 'We saved our town from your Western rubbish'

Source: BBC.com (13 February 2019)
[click to view]

[4] Plastic pollution: One town smothered by 17,000 tonnes of rubbish

Source: bbc.com (13 February 2019)
[click to view]

[5] Contaminación por plástico: la ciudad asolada por 17.000 toneladas de basura que llega de todo el mundo

Source: Teletica (17 February, 2019)
[click to view]

[6] Swamped with plastic waste: Malaysia struggles as global scrap piles up

Source: Reuters (25 October 2018)
[click to view]

[7] More illegal plastic recycling plants popping up in Malaysia as global scrap piles up

Source: The straits Times (26 October 2018)
[click to view]

[2] UK household plastics found in illegal dumps in Malaysia

Source: Unearthed
[click to view]

[1] ‘The world's rubbish bin’ – 17mil kg of rubbish in Jenjarom

Source: The star.com ( 13 February 2019)
[click to view]

[8] Staggering photos show one small town covered in 19,000 tons of plastic waste

Source: Businessinsider, 20 February 2019
[click to view]

[10] How mountains of U.S plastic waste ended up in Malaysia, broken down by workers for 10dollars a day

Source: Los Angeles Times (29 December 2018)
[click to view]

[9] Selangor govt to meet minister over Jenjarom plastic dumping sites

Source: Free Malaysia Today (23 September 2018)
[click to view]

Media Links

"Save Malaysia, Reject Foreign Waste"

by Kyala Langat Environmental Association
[click to view]

Other Documents

Illegal plastic waste in Jenjarom Source: ‘The world's rubbish bin’ – 17mil kg of rubbish in Jenjarom, reorts BBC (February, 2019)

https://www.thestar.com.my/news/environment/2019/02/13/bbc-reports-17mil-kg-of-rubbish-in-jenjarom/#svuY8MrUU1JciBtx.99
[click to view]

Plastic waste in Jenjarom Source: Plastic pollution: One town smothered by 17,000 tonnes of rubbish (February, 2019)

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-46518747
[click to view]

Meta Information
Last update15/04/2019
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