IRDA: thieves caused garbage system’s failure

An Iskandar Regional Development Authority officer blamed lax security for the malfunction of a high-tech garbage trapping system in Sungai Plentong, Johor Bahru.

He said the RM2 million garbage system was blighted by theft, which led to its disruption just months after starting operations in early 2010.

“A lot of steel items have been stolen… we need to improve the security and hire guards for the site once we make the needed repairs,” said the officer, who did not want to be quoted.

Last week, Komunitikini highlighted a ‘high-tech’ garbage system which is now in a deplorable state and spreads foul smells to residents living nearby.

The IRDA officer said the Sungai Plentong plant was one of the four automatic garbage trapping and collecting systems installed in Johor Bharu. The other three are placed at Stulang Laut, upstream of Sungai Plentong, and at Kampung Bendahara.

The systems cost RM11million in total.

Repairis to commence in three months

He said that under normal circumstances, garbage would be trapped in the plant’s holding area, until a rise in the tide turns on a trash-rake that helps to drift the garbage into a conveyor.

The conveyor then moves it to another bigger dustbin, which workers come to collect every month.

He added that the system is designed to reduce river pollution and facilitate garbage collection.

“Unfortunately this good infrastructure has fallen victim to vandals,” he said.

He said repair works will take three months to commence.

Asked if the period is too long for the stench to continue haunting the residents, the officer said the IRDA is preparing to outsource the RM2 million contract through open-tender.

“The is because under IRDA, any contract that is worth RM2 million or above shall be listed for tender, so we need to wait for a longer period,” he said.

He added that repair works are stimated to be completed within six months after commencement.

“By end of this year, the plant should be operational again,” he said.

He also dismissed the notion that both IRDA and Johor Bahru Tengah Municipal Council (MPJBT) are at loggerhead over who should be responsible to maintain the garbage system.

This was told by local assemblyman Tan Chor Puk when Komunitikini asked him about the inordinate delay in repair works.

The officer said the Drainage Irrigation Department (DID) has issued a letter stated that local council shall oversee small rivers under its jurisdiction.

“MPJBT (Johor Baru City Council), hence, must maintain it (after we repair the trap),” he said.