Jun 04, 2013

    Foetuses found in Malaysia sewers

    MALAYSIANS dump 60,000 tonnes - an amount that can fill almost 25 Olympic-sized swimming pools - of rubbish into the sewage-treatment system every year.

    The mess that ends up in pipes and treatment plants includes discarded plastic items, diapers, sanitary pads and condoms.

    More distressingly, foetuses have also been found in Indah Water Konsortium (IWK) treatment plants, some with umbilical cords attached. There has been an average of five such finds every year.

    "They are usually found in a decayed state and, sometimes, without limbs," IWK communications head Azzatullina Pawanchik said.

    IWK workers have also come across dumped foetuses while investigating clogged pipes in several areas.

    Ms Azzatullina said IWK would usually lodge police reports and help in the investigations.

    She said 20,000 cases of clogged sewer pipes were reported last year, adding that IWK had to spend RM16 million (S$6 million) to clear them and another RM8 million to remove the tonnes of rubbish from sewage-treatment plants.

    "To unclog sewer pipes, we have to deploy high-pressure, jet-powered machines to clear blockages. The exercise requires state-of-the-art equipment...and skilled manpower," said Ms Azzatullina.

    She said the entry of non-sewage items into underground sewer pipes would block the flow of sewage, resulting in it overflowing through manholes and onto roads.

    She added that clogged pipes could also create "backflows" into toilets.

    Apart from rubbish, other common non-sewage items found in treatment facilities are oil, grease and industrial sludge.