Speaking Out

Abraham Lincoln once said, “Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt.”

I actually look forward to Mdm Fuziah Salleh’s frequent pronouncements on Lynas for a little comic relief at the end of a stressful day. Her latest tirade, ominously titled  “Lynas has fooled us all” doesn’t disappoint. There are so many “gems” in this piece, that it would take me a long time to list them all. So I’ll start with one and save the rest for future posts, perhaps.

Mdm Fuziah says:
But dilution of effluent is not allowed under regulation 17 of the Enviromental Quality (Sewage And Industrial Effluents) Regulations, 1979, which reads:

“No person shall dilute, or cause or permit to be diluted, any effluent, whether raw or treated at any time or point after it is produced at any permises unless prior written authorisation of the Director-General has been obtained for the dilution and the dilution is done according to the terms and conditions of the authorisation.”

The abovementioned regulations can be found here. Let’s get the obvious out of the way first. The regulation does say “unless prior written authorisation of the Director-General has been obtained”. So, obviously, if the Director General had given written authorisation, then the dilution would not be “not allowed”, no?

A cursory reading of the actual Regulations document reveals a more fundamental problem with Mdm Fuziah’s claim. Regulation 2. Interpretation defines “sewage” and “industrial effluents” as follows:
“effluent” means sewage or industrial effluent;
“industrial effluents” means liquid water or wastewater produced by reasons of the production processes taking place at any industrial premises;
“sewage” means any liquid waste or wastewater discharge containing animal or vegetable matter in suspension or solution, and may include liquids containing chemicals in solution;
“inland waters” include any reservoir, pond, lake, river, stream, canal, drain, spring or well, any part of the sea abutting on the foreshore, and any other body of natural of artificial surface or subsurface water;

And Regulation 3. Application states:
These Regulations shall apply to discharges of effluent into any inland waters, other than the effluents discharged from prescribed premises or other premises specified in the First Schedule or both.

Taken together, regulations 2 and 3 clearly state that these regulations apply only to liquid waste or waste water discharged into rivers, lakes, etc. Now, despite its name, WLP actually refers to the solid residue from the Water Leach Purification process. Mdm Fuziah too clearly understands that WLP refers to solid waste because in the article she also states:
“Subsequently, the waste will be commercialised as base materials which will be used in the construction of roads (this was announced by Lynas in January).”

Furthermore, if the waste is to be used in the construction of roads, how could it then be discharged “into any inland waters”?

These regulations plainly do not apply to the WLP residue to which Mdm Fuziah refers. What’s more, she obviously knows that they do not apply. Yet she cites them anyway. Now what does that make her?

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