Used furniture and mattresses, broken television sets, refrigerators, building materials, packaging and branches piling up by the road side or at open grounds is very unsightly. This is, however, a very common and highly visible reality in many urban and rural areas throughout Malaysia.
Any unauthorised disposal of waste at public or privately-owned land is considered illegal dumping. Households, businesses, contractors and waste collectors who are not willing to travel the distance to proper disposal sites or to pay for the transport or tipping fees are all common offenders.
Waste types commonly found illegally dumped include:
- Used furniture and mattresses
- Household appliances and electrical goods such as washing machine, television, radio, computer
- Green wastes such as branches and trees stumps
- Construction wastes such as bricks and concrete
- Commercial and industrial waste such as packaging materials and off-cuts
Illegal dump sites tend to continue accumulating waste once the site has been used as an illegal dumping site and to reappear immediately after having been cleared.
Illegal dump sites are very un-aesthetic, being a very visible eyesore and creating an unpleasant environment. However, this is not the only problem with illegal dumping.
Illegal dumping can disrupt proper drainage areas, causing them to become more susceptible to flooding. Dumping can disturb vegetation and wildlife and it can contaminate soil, surface as well as ground water, giving rise to severe negative environmental impact.
In addition, illegal dump sites often become breeding ground for rodents, insects and vermins which may be disease-carriers. Besides, they also pose as a risk to people, especially children who enter the illegal dump sites might be exposed to physical injuries from sharp edges, protruding nails, etc. or to diseases through contact with infectious or poisonous materials.
Local Authorities spend huge sums every year clearing illegal dump sites, including cleaning up drains and rivers which are often clogged by illegally dumped waste. As much as RM 50 million may be spent by the Local Authorities every year on clearing illegal dump sites in Peninsular Malaysia.