Race to make money from bauxite with high cost to human health

Bauxite Mining

(source: Drone)

The race to make money is carried out at any cost

QUICK TAKE: When will the people of Kuantan learn that all that glitters is not gold, and all that the Umno Baru politicians tell them is not the truth? Have they forgotten Lynas?

It was alleged that when the Lynas rare-earth facility was built, the Malays were the last to take heed of the dangers. Urban legend has it that the Chinese stopped buying the keropok Lekor.

The Malays investigated the drop in sales, and found out that the Chinese were afraid of putting their children’s health at risk by feeding them the keropok, which was made from fish, caught in the waters off the coast of Kuantan. Only then did the Malay take an interest in what was happening at the Lynas plant.

Now, history is repeating itself. The authorities do nothing, and have no desire to intervene because the leaders who allow the mining, both legal and illegal, do not want to upset their potential voters.

China has an insatiable appetite for bauxite, the ore which yields aluminium. When Indonesia stopped exports of bauxite to China last year, Malaysia picked up the slack.

There has been a meteoric rise in exports and the government, both federal and state, are unwilling to regulate bauxite mining.

People are digging up their backyards in the Felda settlements, because they can make easy money from just selling the earth.

There is nothing to do, nothing to process, filter or collect, unlike harvesting the oil palm or rubber trees. They just dig up the land, dump the soil onto lorries and race to the port, in Kuantan, where it is loaded onto ships bound for China. Easy work. Easy money!

The price has been the red dust and red sludge that covers buildings, trees, vegetation, rivers and seas. It stains clothes, buildings and vehicles, clings to skin and hair, and gets into your lungs. It is an environmental and health disaster that is about to explode.

Don’t depend on Menteri Besar Adnan Yaakob to do something. He is not known for being proactive. In August 2015, the Atomic Energy Licensing Board (AELB) took samples of earth, water and bauxite from the mining areas, and the results were released a month later.

Warned of this action, the people merely intensified extraction of the bauxite. They wanted to make money quickly, in case the mining would be regulated. As a precaution, Adnan should have stopped the mining activities, until the results were known.

He claimed that the state government treated the bauxite matter with utmost seriousness, but he said that it was not possible to stop people from making an income. Perhaps, there are other reasons, too sensitive to mention.

His lack of leadership has now turned Kuantan into a living, red nightmare, which will continue for decades. Not everyone benefited from the mining, but they and the opposition politicians, who tried to highlight the dangers, were powerless to stop the operation.

Come GE14, it is hoped the electorate will know what sort of failure Adnan has been. He only thinks of himself and his party. He failed to think of the well-being of everyone in Kuantan and in Pahang.

Eco-tourism activities will suffer. Fishermen will be affected, as will normal road users and ordinary households, in and around Kuantan.

Bauxite contains arsenic, mercury, lead and other radioactive material. It affects marine life and poses a threat to human health. In the near future, there will be an explosion of health problems, and a pollution of land, air and water, that may never recover.

This is Adnan’s legacy.

The race to make money is carried out at any cost
13 Jan 2016 – Ant Daily
by Mariam Mokhtar


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