Kampung Bagan Sungai Lima faces a pollution nightmare as hazardous waste disrupts its tranquility, laying bare Malaysia’s environmental crisis and the pressing need for intervention.
Kampung Bagan Sungai Lima, which means “fifth river village”, is a 30-minute ferry journey from Port Klang. Unlike its more renowned neighbor, Pulau Ketam, this island still emanates an old-world charm, rooted in its traditional fishing customs, dried shrimp production, small-scale tourism, and humble way of life.
However, at this idyllic island, there is a brewing pollution problem as an excessive amount of waste is indiscriminately disposed of. In a hidden dumping site behind the village, which stretches from the community hall into the heart of a mangrove swamp, there is a substantial amount of plastic waste, prayer altars, electronic parts, furniture and glasses, among others.
The improper disposal of electronic waste is a pressing concern as toxic metals like lead, mercury, nickel and cadmium, are released into the environment, and pose significant risks to human health as well as aquatic animals and plants. Additionally, there were also signs of burning of trash along the pathway to the mangrove forest.