Lynas Chemical Spill Triggers Concerns from Residents that Incident will Repeat

SHAH ALAM, 31 March: Local residents, especially along the Kuantan-Kuala Lumpur federal road, have been stricken with fear that the chemical spill by a Lynas Corporation-owner trailer at Km 149, Jalan Kuantan-Kuala Lumpur, near Kampung Sungai Kepong, Lanchang last Friday, will happen again.

The Chairman of the Green Assembly, Wong Tak, said that claims by Lynas that it chemical spill is safe if dubious and irresponsible.

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“The spill caused the police to close the road from traffic from morning to late in the afternoon. A large group from various departments were mobilised to the area. We were told that the spill has been neutralised.

“If the spill was not harmful and poisonous, why was a big group needed? Until now, the owners of Lynas has not clearly explained the real thing and clearly do not comply with recommendations from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to operate in a transparent manner.

According to the NGO, this incident clearly proves negligence in terms of Lynas’ operations and this is not the first time this has happened.

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“An engineer was found dead at the Lynas plant grounds several months ago,” he explained.

He said that this chemical spill incident also proves that no one is monitoring the operations of Lynas to a point that chemicals can be taken out of the factory without monitoring.

This raises concerns of a repeat in the Bukit Merah tragedy when a contractor was allowed to take out toxic waste to be dumped in illegal landfills.

“We want to ask the former Health Minister, Liow Tiong Lai, to form a monitoring committee chaired by himself and to promise the residents that Lynas’ activities will be monitored strictly.

“He needs to come forward and provide an explanation,” said Wong Tak.

He added that it is clear that Lynas’ irresponsibility will threaten and bring about risks to the well-being of the environment and health of residents.

“We cannot rely on the authorities who continue to act like ‘Lynas spokesmen’ rather than protecting the interests of the people.

“Therefore the residents should act. We must stand united and closed down the Lynas plant in Gebeng on 22 June 2014. There is no other choice,” said Wong Tack.

The drums containing NdPr Chloride liquid chemicals from the Lynas Plant fell from a trailer at Km 149, Jalan Kuantan-Kuala Lumpur near Kampung Sungai Kepong, Lanchang.

However, the Deputy Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation, Datuk Dr Abu Bakar Mohamad Diah, was reported by Bernama as saying that it did not contain radioactive material and was “not registered under the dangerous category”.

In the incident that took place at about 9am, 13 out of 15 drums containing liquid chemical was scattered on the road after falling off the trailer on-route from Gebeng, Kuantan, heading to Port Klang, Selangor.

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