Tuesday, June 26, 2001

A splendid job on holes, but not feedmill's location

Daily Express
26 June, 2001

Tawau: In a follow-up survey to what was highlighted in the Daily Express several months ago about gaping holes on the five-foot way along Jalan Stephen Tan here, it was found that the Tawau Municipal Council (TMC) had sealed the holes splendidly.

New concrete covers were evidence of recent action, although regulars in the area alleged they had appealed for repairs for a long time without success.

The report's main contention for urgent Council action was that unsuspecting pedestrians had been injured after falling into the holes and more could happen if they weren't sealed.

But two kilometres away in Tanjung Batu, residents of a densely populated area raised their worries about possible flying dust and unpleasant odour from a large feedmill currently under construction near the sea in their homely district.

Since the TMC has a say in approval or otherwise of the feedmill's location, they queried why the mill was allowed to be built in a health sensitive area, as not only the nearby residents might be affected but also the Tawau General Hospital barely a kilometre away.

They said since the building of the mill is well under way, the TMC and also the Health Services Department need to assure Tawau folks in no uncertain terms that operation of the mill will not make the surrounding air smelly nor dusty or noisy.

This is because convoys of big lorries transporting the feeds are expected to make regular trips through the housing areas and pass by the general hospital or the Tawau Golf Course.

"The smell from such flying lorries may be much more than a whiff, if not from the mill itself," commented a well-known personality here.

When contacted, an industry insider said feed mills generally present little pollution problem.

"If you are talking about a fish mill, then definitely it is going to smell. But if it is a chicken or other feedmill, then it is generally clean. What happens is that the various types of grains from the ships are first conveyed into huge silos where they are sealed and stored. Then these are sucked up into the mixers fixed metres above the ground from where they are funnelled into sacks below and packed," he said.

However, the ordinary folks said such verbal assurances may not match reality in practice.

Be that as it may, the residents said they wanted concrete public assurances of a hazard-free operation before any feed processing starts failing which the relevant authorities should relocating it.

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