Rock Blasting and RP2:some updates.

Briefly, this is what the issue is about:

Residents in Taman Rawang Perdana 2 have been complaining about rock blasting activities nearby that affect the wellbeing of their lives.

There are sites as close as 80m from people’s houses, and regular blasting activities have been said to cause serious issues in this area.  Complaints received include incidences of dangerous flying rocks, strong vibrations that cause structural cracks to appear, air pollution as a result of dust, and noise.

The blasting activities involved are part of two housing development projects and one highway project (Jalan Pintasan Rawang which will divert traffic away from Rawang town in the future).  Note must be taken here that all three projects were approved before Taman Rawang Perdana 1 & 2 were developed.

rp2-rock-blasting

In the one year since coming into office, four meetings have been called with Jabatan Mineral & Geosains (JMG), Majlis Perbandaran Selayang (MPS), and even Jabatan Alam Sekitar (JAS).  As a result, it has been found out that existing guidelines on quarry and blasting activities do not sufficiently protect the safety and rights of people living nearby.

broken-rocks

Since then, the Selangor EXCO in charge of quarry affairs, Yaakob Sapari, has been informed of RP2’s predicament and an urgent review of existing guidelines has been requested.

On April 12, 2009, a dialogue was organised with the residents of RP2, who strongly voiced their discontent about the situation they are facing.  Again, Yaakob Sapari was informed and urged to intervene.

dialog-apr12

With the help of fellow EXCO Teresa Kok, Yaakob organised a meeting to discuss issues surrounding the quarry industry and rock blasting activities.  A stringent review of the guidelines is now underway.

Meanwhile, JMG and the quarry operator of the highway project did a trial blast last Monday (April 27, 2009) to fulfil conditions for resumption of quarrying activities.  This is after their license were suspended for some four months since last year.

trial-blast1

Naturally, residents are increasingly afraid that future rock blasting activities without the ability of strong enforcement or sufficient guidelines that can give them protection.

Therefore, in the interest of the safety and well being of RP2 residents, the state EXCO members have been informed that the urgency of this issue warrants a temporary stop work order be given while the review is still carried out.

It has to be understood, nonetheless, that it is unlikely for the projects to be stopped altogether because of the degree of public interest involved and the nature of how the quarries were given approval and started before Rawang Perdana came about.  Questions, however, can be raised about how – through policy and enforcement – quarry operators  must act responsibly.

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