Saturday, May 31, 2008

Stop the blasting! - The Star

May 31, 2008 Story and photo by STUART MICHAEL

ENOUGH is enough! After suffering deafening noise pollution for five long years, residents of Taman Rawang Perdana 2 in Rawang have decided to take action to stop the irritation.

Representatives of some 100 households held a meeting with Rawang state assemblyman Gan Pei Nei on Thursday to discuss the noise problem caused by rock blasting at the nearby quarries.

The three-hour meeting was held at Gan’s office in Taman Bersatu in Rawang. Present were the quarry operators and officials of the Selayang Municipal Council, Public Works Department, Geo-Science and Mineral Department and Department of Environment (DOE).

The meeting decided that a survey be conducted in the residential area to check on how bad the shockwaves from the blasting were.

A serious problem: Taman Rawang Perdana 2 resident Chan Pak Nean (standing) speaking about the problem while showing a map during the dialogue.

There are two quarries – Sunwaymas Rawang and Rawang Granite – carrying out blasting in the area.

According to SunwayMas Sdn Bhd project manager William Oh, the blasting at Sunwaymas Rawang is done according to the specifications and the blast is only conducted twice a month. The project will be completed within the next eight years.

Mahumas Sdn Bhd assistant project manager S. Ramasamy said that the company’s Rawang Granite quarry was located away from the residential area and the project would be completed by July next year.

Taman Rawang Perdana 2 Residents Association chairman Ong Siew Hang queried that if the blasting was done according to the regulations and the quarry was located about 500m away from the residential area, how was it that the houses were still damaged?

“The blasting is carried out between 300 and 800 times a year and it is affecting the foundation of the houses. We have been very patient and are fed up with the answers given by the quarry operators,” Ong said.

“At a meeting in February 2006 that we had with the then Rawang assemblyman Datuk Tang See Hang, Sunwaymas told us it would stop operations in six months while Mahumas promised to provide an answer in 14 months,” she said.

“But, till today, none of the quarry operators have stopped. Besides, our residential roads are badly damaged by heavy usage of the quarry lorries and we also are plagued by the dust and smell pollution,” Ong said.

She said many residents were afraid that their houses would collapse and had moved out.

Gan, meanwhile, said she had requested Geo-Science and Mineral Department representative Nurul Huda Ramli and DOE representative Affendy Nasrudin to conduct a survey at the residential areas during the blasting to check on the shockwaves.

“We will make a decision on the matter after the results of the survey are known. We will meet with all the relevant parties on June 6 to decide on the matter.

“An independent committee will be set up which I will head. The committee together with DOE officials and Geo-Science and Mineral Department will conduct this survey to monitor the situation here,” Gan said.

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