Wall of smoke


I was admiring the view of Penang Island from the mainland at around noon today when suddenly, a wall of smoke billowed near the sea-front blocking the island from view for a few minutes.

A fire in Butterworth? No, just plumes of smoke coming from the direction of an industrial plant in the heart of Butterworth town, lasting a few minutes. Apparently, this happens once or twice a day, I was told.

I would be interested to know what exactly is in this smoke being discharged.

What I saw made me wonder how effective the DoE is in monitoring emissions and effluent (flowing into the Prai River and surrounding seas?) from firms in the industrial zones on the mainland in particular.

An experienced engineer told me established firms may have waste water treatment plants (they also have to submit independent treated waste water quality reports to the DoE every two weeks) while emissions from those using natural gas as fuel contain minimal pollutants. But who controls the other culprits who flout environmental standards?

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25 Jan 2011 3.12pm

Wow! marcs. That is bad news if coming from Malaysia Smelting Corporation. That is a Tin Refinery. Tin ore is smelted and pure tin separated, with slag being the waste.
Suspect that it is the dust from the ore or slag fines. The plant is so old, wonder if they have done any improvement in the processes and containment of dust particles.

25 Jan 2011 1.06am

If i’m not mistaken, the smoke was coming out from Malaysia Smelting Corporation factory when they open their furnace. Most of the time, they will open it at night unless there is no choice.
The residence nearby the area always complained to DOE years ago till today….
Business as usual till today.. Malaysia Boleh!!!

25 Jan 2011 12.16am

I believe the source of the air pollution is from the Malaysian Smelting Corporation’s factory located at Butterworth.

24 Jan 2011 5.50pm

Obviously Gerakan K only understands jurisdiction selectively to suggest that the local authority takes action on factories that emit excessive smoke occasionally but will be quick to criticise the government if any of its officers overstep his/her authority like in the case of ADUN for Komtar who had to apologise after he directed a raid on a Nasi Kandar shop. The right body to take action in such matters is the department of environment. They have the proper equipment to monitor the situation and collect the necessary data for subsequent action. Lim GE is the CM of Penang. However, he… Read more »

25 Jan 2011 1.34am
Reply to  wira

Nepotism, Oligarchy, lack of 66.6% quorums, abuse of patronage and clique politics lack of asset declarations, lack of term limits make Pakatan a failure unsuitable for Putrajaya, much less Penang.

@Gerakan K is right :

Where is CAT ??? Where is the competency to safe guard the environment ??? Where is the accountability of the state government to our Penang environment ???

*BUT* Gerakan won’t even end … 2 class citizenships. So what use is Gerakan for but posing and lying for their own benefit?

25 Jan 2011 11.57am

To act outside one’s jurisdiction is basically akin to an abuse of power. For such cases, DOE is the right agency to complain to. After collecting data with the appropriate equipment and checking that against what is prohibited by law, DOE then can then approach the local authority for action under the law or take the polluters to court if the emissions are above what is allowed under the regulations. The local council does not have the equipment nor the expertise to make such an investigation that will ensure a successful conviction or to protect itself from a counter suit.… Read more »

Phua Kai Lit
Phua Kai Lit
24 Jan 2011 9.14am

There is increasing evidence that air pollution is more damaging to human health than previously thought. The World Health Organization is publicising this. Pulau Pinang NGOs need to follow up on this and exert pressure on the relevant federal and state authorities dealing with environmental pollution.

24 Jan 2011 3.21am

Pollution? Pollutant monitoring? Good luck and welcome to yet another Malaysia boleh gray area. Why? Because municipal councils/state government(in such case,probably KTK administration) also contribute to such SNAFU conditions. Because Mr.nobody take responsibilities. Anilnetto should ask this question first : how the hell the pollutant emitting factory end up in such place ? So there is 2 possibilities : 1. the industrial land in those area long BEFORE the commercial/residents zone is in place. In those early day, it might be ok when these industrial emit pollutant since it is far away from the people. So the municipal councils/state government… Read more »

25 Jan 2011 12.34pm
Reply to  moo_t

If that factory belongs to Malaysia Smelting Corporation, it is almost impossible for it to be an illegal factory because Malaysia Smelting Corporation is a public listed company.

A study of the website of this company reveals that the Butterworth Smelting Works started up after the war with 3 large furnaces in 1955, probably well before residential houses expanded into that location.

On the issue of the CSR (corporate social responsibility) of this company, please refer to http://www.msmelt.com/corp_social.htm

Gerakan K
Gerakan K
24 Jan 2011 2.09am

For me, it is difficult to talk to those people who have no experience running businesses. The state government has plenty of rules and regulations to control almost anything regarding to local business, eg safety, health & haphazardness, environment, etc. In short, the state government can control the situation if they wanted to. But look at the situation now. Why no reaction so far despite that are regular (alleged) offences ??? Pro business or pro people ??? Wanted to blame KTK again ??? Where is CAT ??? Where is the competency to safe guard the environment ??? Where is the… Read more »

24 Jan 2011 12.22am

Ivan Ho, Gerakan K is right. In this case we have to punish BN politicians cos its the Federal Govt in charge of DOE Enforcement.

Ivan Ho
Ivan Ho
23 Jan 2011 10.36pm

DOE which is a federal agency is the enforcement body for environmental issues.
If don’t know, then shut up. At least nobody knows that you are stupid or ignorant.

Gerakan K
Gerakan K
23 Jan 2011 9.12pm

Easy one.

Who is in charge in Penang now ???

LGE or KTK ??? PR or BN ???

Now we know the target. Mark this incident in your diary and punish those politicians in power in Penang in next GE.

p/s: Please support me in next GE. I have no problem in shaking hands with all Malaysians and foreigners. I’m modest and not an extremist.

24 Jan 2011 2.31am
Reply to  Gerakan K

Gerakan has to endorse the below 3 items 1st before anyone votes for you. BTW we don’t care about who you will shake hands with, its the policy that matters and ending (discrimination) is all that matters even if you don’t even show up for a single ceremah.

1) Freedom from (discrimination)/Fascism
2) Freedom from Religious-Persecution/Religious-Supremacy.
3) Equality for all ethnicities and faiths in all aspects of policy, Law and Constitution.

Teh Ching Kim
24 Jan 2011 10.48am
Reply to  Gerakan K

Gerakan K, You are quick to say that, well done, kid.
Please la show your face so that I do not vote the wrong candidate.