It took a strong unbearable foul odour to reveal the existence of an illegal fertilizer processing plant in the city. The stench affected residential areas within a one-kilometre radius.
For months, the residents in Taman Rishah and surrounding areas have been puzzled as to what was causing the stench. Some of them thought it came from dead animals, while others thought it was from chemicals or fertilizer used by a nearby farm.
Imagine how shocked they were when they traced the source of the stench to a fertilizer plant in their midst. So early this month, some of them decided to organize a rally to protest against the existence of the fertilizer plant. Leaflets were sent to the houses in the affected areas calling on the residents to meet at a nearby restaurant where they drafted a memorandum and delivered to Ipoh City Council.
In response to their memorandum, it was reported that the council’s Health Department stated that the factory was operating illegally. The operator was said to have submitted an application to get approval from the department, but was rejected on the ground that it failed to fulfill the required conditions.
The department has since compounded the operator. “We will take the operator to court as a last resort,” assured its spokesman.
The residents can now heave a sigh of relief as they are free from the foul odour, but will it be permanent or temporary?
The question being asked by most of the residents was how did the fertilizer plant manage to operate illegally for so long without being detected by the authorities? What if the residents had not protested to the city council, would they have continued to live in misery of the foul odour?
The residents found chicken feathers and their entrails strewn in the compound of the alleged factory. It is also located next to a food processing factory, creating a very unhealthy situation. Some residents claimed that the odour had affected children suffering from asthma, while some were experiencing skin irritation.
The apparent failure of the enforcement units of the city council to detect and act against such illegal factories will undoubtedly affect the Mayor Dato’ Roshidi’s target of 85 per cent Clean Ipoh by August, this year.
It is my hope that everyone, council’s employees and residents, will co-operate efficiently to achieve the target. Let’s bring back the lost image of Ipoh as – “one of the cleanest cities in the country.”