Residents cry foul over choked refuse chute of new HDB block
Instead of enjoying their new homes, residents at Keat Hong Mirage have to bear with a foul smell and flies.
Rubbish, including renovation waste, has piled up near Block 817A at Keat Hong Link in Choa Chu Kang, and the central refuse chute in the block was choked up to the eighth storey.
"On the lower floors, the stench is unbearable. And when I open the chute, insects fly out," said Mr Nazmi Othman, 31, who lives in a fourth-storey unit with his wife and two children.
"I have two small kids and I am scared for their health."
He said there was no problem when they moved in a month back, but rubbish started piling up in the chute more than two weeks ago.
When The New Paper went to the 22-storey block on Monday afternoon, there was an obvious stench on the first eight storeys, with the lower floors being more affected.
NASTY FIND: Mr Muhammad Zumrah (above) found out the rubbish chute was choked on Sunday night. A lot of the trash was food waste with maggots crawling in the red bag on the right. TNP PHOTO: PHYLLICIA WANG
When this reporter checked the chute, it was filled with mostly food waste. Maggots could be seen in one of the bags stuck in the chute on the seventh storey.
"This is a new estate, I didn't expect the rubbish chute to get choked so fast," said Mr Nazmi.
The build-to-order (BTO) estate was completed only in March, and fewer than 10 families have moved into the block.
Most of the units are still under renovation.
Mr Nazmi and another resident, Mr Muhammad Zumrah, 28, told TNP that the problem had not been resolved despite their complaints.
BIG MESS: A cleaner loading the rubbish onto a vehicle. TNP PHOTO: PHYLLICIA WANG
"It has become almost a daily routine to call the town council. Why must I keep updating them?" said Mr Zumrah, who lives on the eighth storey with his wife and two kids.
Mr Zumrah and another resident, who wanted to be known only as Mr Roy, suspect the obstruction was caused by renovation debris that had been dumped into the chute.
TNP understands that Block 817A has yet to be handed over to the town council, and the residents' complaints were forwarded to the Housing Board (HDB), which is still responsible for the block.
In response to queries by TNP, an HDB spokesman yesterday confirmed that the refuse handling equipment on the ground floor of the chute had malfunctioned as a result of improper disposal of bulky refuse and renovation debris into the chute.
A red cabinet door has jammed a chute hopper in between storeys. PHOTO: HDB
This caused the chute to be jammed between floors and resulted in the choke.
The malfunction was rectified on Monday, and the choked rubbish had also been cleared from the chute. The residents confirmed this yesterday evening.
The HDB spokesman advised residents to approach their renovation contractor or the town council should they need help disposing of bulky items because such items should not be discarded into the chute.
They had to cut holes in wall to remove carpets from chute
ALL CHOKED UP: Contractors were called in to remove carpets causing a blockage in a rubbish chute in an HDB block at Eunos Crescent, in 1983. ST FILE PHOTOS
Singaporeans have had a troubled history with choked-up rubbish chutes.
Two bulky carpets caused a blockage in a rubbish chute at Block 14, Eunos Crescent, in July 1983, The Straits Times reported.
Residents of the 15-storey block had to live with the foul smell from refuse piling up in the chute, as well as with pests such as flies, cockroaches and maggots.
Six families living on the second, third and fourth storeys had to carry their refuse down daily.
After reports to the Housing Board (HDB), contractors were called in to remove the rotting carpets. Tying them to a lorry to pull them out did not work.
Eventually, two holes had to be made in the wall of the rubbish chute, and workers shot jets of water from a fire hose to break up the carpets.
A renovation contractor, who was found to be responsible for the blockage, was barred from doing HDB renovation work for two years and fined $2,000.
He also had to pay $1,000 to HDB for clearing the chute.
In May 1985, The Straits Times reported that cleaners at Block 58, Circuit Road, found a mattress and a table top stuck in the chute of the 10-storey block.
A cleaner tried in vain to clear the blockage with a rod.
A flat owner on the 10th storey was found to be the culprit.
He apologised and agreed to pay for the expenses incurred in clearing the chute.