‘Irresponsible’ coal dust dumping off of Melaka caught on camera by local fishermen

After nearly two-minute-long footage was leaked onto the internet showing a vessel dumping coal dust into the seas off the Melaka coast, environmental advocacy groups are asking the state government to take action.

Local fishermen recorded the footage, showing a rusty boat dumping the waste into waters near the shoreline. Melaka’s Consumer Affairs and Environment Association chairman, Murali Krishna, confirmed that the video was taken yesterday, and has called on the Melaka Department of Environment to step up against this “irresponsible act.”

Murali believe that the ship has just delivered a coal consignment, and was returning to port when they were caught dumping the dust.

Norhizam Hassan Baktee, chairman of the state’s Agriculture, Entrepreneur Development, Agro-based and Cooperative Committee confirmed that he too received reports on the alleged dumping incident along Melaka’s shores.

“This kind of act has been going on for some time and this time around, the fishermen helped us by providing evidence,” he added.

Coal is very brittle, and it is common for fine particles of dust to accumulate when it is being mined and handled. As a material, it is quite dangerous, as the dust contains heavy metals which are toxic at low concentrations.

What kind of toxic metals? Oh, you know — lead, mercury, nickel, tin, cadmium, mercury, antimony, and arsenic, as well as radio isotopes of thorium and strontium. All the good stuff.

Australian researchers looking at the effects of residual coal dust in their waters concluded that coal exposure kills coral, stunted the growth of both fish and seagrass.

Coal dust, especially fine coal dust, has been identified by health professionals and doctors around the world as causing a range of diseases and health problems, especially in miners.

Exposure to the toxic dust increases the likelihood of heart disease and respiratory afflictions, including asthma and lung cancer.




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