Waste

Separate waste from September

Posted on December 19, 2011. Filed under: Laws and Regulations, Waste |

- Bernama

PUTRAJAYA: Households will start segregating their waste in stages beginning September, said Housing and Local Government Minister Datuk Seri Chor Chee Heung.

This is in line with the enforcement of the Solid Waste and Public Cleaning Act, and the privatisation of solid waste management and public cleaning work.

He said this would initially be implemented in cities and towns like Kuala Lumpur, Putrajaya and Alor Setar, where the concessionaire would carry out recycled waste collection on a weekly basis.

“At the same time, we will encourage recycling.

“When the time comes, say in two or three years when there is sufficient awareness among the society on the need to segregate their household waste, we will make this compulsory and those not adhering to it will be fined,” he told reporters after opening the National Recycling Day here yesterday.

He said such a practice could see a reduction of up to 40% in the 25,000 tonnes of waste generated daily.

Earlier in his speech, Chor said only eight of the 166 waste disposal sites in the country had managed to achieve a “sanitary” status, adding that the rest could be harmful to the environment.

He said these sites had also become hotspots for the spread of vector-borne diseases besides being a threat to public health.

“We should adopt a responsible attitude and play our role in tackling solid waste disposal problems by practising the 3R concept of reduce, reuse and recycle,” he said.

Chor also launched a toll-free line, 1-800-88-7472 (SISA), which would allow consumers in the peninsula, except for those in Selangor, Perak and Penang, to report waste disposal issues.

He also launched the RoadTour 1Malaysia, in collaboration with Radio Television Malaysia (RTM), to promote recycling for a week from yesterday.

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Alam Flora’s Transformation In Managing Solid Waste.

Posted on December 15, 2011. Filed under: Waste |

–BERNAMA–

Rubbish is strewn everywhere, garbage collection is erratic, leachate from the dump truck flows onto the road, the smell is nauseating and the whole scene is nothing but an eyesore.

These are among the public grievances on the unsatisfactory services of the national solid waste management concessionaire in the housing areas and other places.

Not only the public explicitly lament over their dissatisfaction with the concessionaire, the media too have highlighted the many shortcomings.

Nonetheless, with the Solid Waste and Public Cleansing Management Act that came into force on Sept 1, 2011 the government, concessionaire and the public are now part of a new beginning in the country’s effort to manage solid waste efficiently.

The new legislation could pave the way for a holistic transformation that the public have been yearning for all this while and in line with Malaysia’s goal of emerging as a developed nation.

However, is Alam Flora ready to take the bull by its horns?

A 14 YEAR JOURNEY

Yes, and why not when looking at the fact Alam Flora has been managing the country’s solid waste since 1997, meaning it has gained invaluable experience and know-how in this trade.

“The interim privatisation has been going on for 14 years under the watch of the local governments. Prior to that, the solid waste management was handled by the respective local governments.

“With the privatisation, through the implementation of the Act, now the local governments are more focused in carrying out other tasks like collecting assessments, building and maintaining roads, and attending to problems with other public amenities like street lamps and etc,” said Mohd Zain indicating how Alam Flora has helped to ease the burden of the local governments.

A MORE STRINGENT KPI

However, with the implementation of this Act it is a different ball game altogether.

Under the Act the solid waste management comes under the Federal Government and no longer the local governments and to ensure the desired results are achieved, stringent Key Performance Indicators have been imposed on the concessionaire.

Alam Flora is responsible for the waste management in central and eastern region of Peninsula covering an area of 63,000 square kilometers, and is embarking on stages improved service delivery.

“Now our work will be monitored by 1,000 officers from the Solid Waste and Public Cleansing Management Corporation (PPSPPA) under the Ministry of Housing and Local Government.

“Now, Alam Flora has been given a one year grace period up to August 2012 to provide new dump trucks and even provide dustbins to homes.

“Come Sept 1, 2012, Alam Flora will complete its first year according to the new benchmark set for 30 percent of the localities transcending six areas Kuala Lumpur and Putrajaya in Federal Territory, Kuantan and Pekan in Pahang and another two starting next year – Kuala Terengganu (Terengganu) and Kota Baharu (Kelantan),” he said.

Mohd Zain added that the transformation process until 2015 would include all 32 areas (excluding Selangor) under the supervision of Alam Flora and adhering to more stringent benchmarks.

EMPHASIS ON TIMING

As the government is committed in improving the nation’s solid waste management, it made clear to the concessionaires that their services will terminated whole or partially if they fail to meet the KPI.

Alam Flora being well aware of its obligations have taken proactive steps. As for the concessionaire now, it is not only about the new garbage trucks and dustbins but also in developing its human capital.

This holistic transformation emphasizes on time management to ensure the satisfaction of communities where it operates.

“Under this Act collection is still three times per week with one day allocated for recyclable solid waste, bulk waste and waste from the garden.

“The biggest woe for the society is irregular timing of collection. However, now it will be scheduled accordingly and dwellers to be informed on the rubbish collection schedule in their area,” he said.

In allaying public scepticism that the concessionaire may not liveup to expectation Mohd Zain noted that the actions of Alam Flora’s employees would be closely monitored while the company would call for the community’s cooperation in ensuring a clean environment is maintained.

Through the use of black boxes on dump trucks, Alam Flora’s management will be able to keep track of their location.

“The Automated Vehicle Locating System’(AVLS) at Alam Flora’s headquarters and branch offices will indicate whether those scheduled to operate at a particular place have diverted elsewhere,” he said.

GOOD BYE LEACHATE

Apart from collection timing, the leachate problem blamed on the concessionaire is to be addressed as well. Being well aware of the problem, Alam Flora is coming up with ‘leachate proof’ dump trucks.

The trucks also come with lifting mechanism, meaning the bins are no longer manually unloaded by workers.

“Previously, one of our workers was infected with HIV as he was poked by a contaminated syringe needle probably used by a drug addict after handling manually the waste in Jalan Haji Taib. Other than that,they are exposed to the dangers posed by snakes as garbage attracts rodents and other animals.

“The workers are also exposed to the risk of accidents and injuries, and occasionally in their efforts to collect the rubbish they end up messing up the place.

“By using the ‘bin lifter’, it is mandatory for workers to unload the rubbish into the compactors using the bin lifter. By this way, the safety of the workers and the cleanliness of the place is guaranteed,” he said.

Alam Flora estimates that about 500 vehicles including compactor trucks and cleaning equipment are needed at the initial stage, with the company already procuring 31 of such vehicles.

ALL FREE

“The bins are provided free effective 29 Nov to those who have been paying their assessments,” said Mohd Zain on the free bins.

As for those still not satisfied with Alam Flora’s services, they can call the concessionaire’s hotline 1-800-88-7472.

Before Act 672 was enforced, different concessionaires used different telephone lines and different systems, but now they have been made uniform for the public’s convenience,” he said..

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Colourful ‘trees’ of plastic bottles

Posted on December 6, 2011. Filed under: Waste |

-NST-

MEMBERS of the public were enthralled by illuminated Christmas “trees” made from plastic bottles that have been put up at a popular eatery here ahead of the Yuletide celebrations later this month.

The eye-catching structures at the entrance of New World Park in Lorong Swatow were a hit among customers, many of whom stopped by to have their pictures taken next to the structures.

The two-storey high structures, glowing in the darkness with alternating LED lights in red and blue with a tinge of green, attracted people to marvel at recyclable materials being put to good use.

Some 2,000 plastic bottles were used to set up six trees, making the complex management company the pioneer in doing so in Penang.

PPB Group Bhd senior manager (project management), Clarence Tan, said the trees, made with plastic bottles, were part of the company’s green theme initiative.

Tan said the idea to install plastic bottle trees was mooted during a recent brainstorming session.

“We want to showcase our continuous effort to recycle wastages in a series of environmental-friendly initiatives,” he said.

“I hope other companies are able to duplicate and emulate our green-themed projects.”

Tan said the illuminated trees at night using LED lights was aimed at saving energy consumption.

The structures will be on display until the first week of 2012.

Meanwhile, Teo Yi Jing and Boey Anqi, both 22 and from Universiti Sains Malaysia, were impressed by the unique Christmas trees.

They said this was their first time seeing Christmas trees put up using recyclable items.

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‘We are not dumping trash in Sarawak’

Posted on December 2, 2011. Filed under: Waste |

Free Malaysia Today
Patrick Lee | December 2, 2011

Transporting trash across the South China Sea to Sarawak is just ‘too expensive’.

PETALING JAYA: National Solid Waste Management Department (NSWMD) has denied using Sarawak as a dumping ground for West Malaysian garbage.

Its director general Nadzri Yahya disputed claims that Sarawak may have been used as a filling point for rubbish transported from the peninsular.

He said moving trash across the South China Sea would be too expensive.

“Trash exported from West Malaysia? Definitely no.

“It does not make economic sense to export to Sarawak for disposal since the cost of transportation as well as tipping fees imposed will make it too expensive.”

“Furthermore, waste generated should be treated or disposed of near the source of generation,” he said.

Nadzri was responding to a World Bank: Malaysia Economic Monitor (Smart Cities) 2011 report which said that Sarawak housed 63 landfills, or 21% of Malaysia’s 296 landfills.

The report said that 49 of these 63 dumps were operational; twice as many as Sabah (19), Perak (17), Pahang (16) and Johor (14).

According to the 2010 Population and Census Report, Sarawak had a population of 2.471 million in a land mass of 124,450 square kilometers.

Nadzri said Sarawak took up 37.7% of Malaysia’s total land size.

Moving rubbish to a few centralized landfills, he claimed, would have been too expensive.

“There are many landfills in Sarawak to cater for the waste generated, not because of the amount, but because of the large spread-out of the population.

“If landfills are few and far away, it will be costly for the local authorities to transport their waste for disposal,” he told FMT.

New system next year

Nadzri further added that NSWMD was trying to reduce the number of rubbish created by Malaysian households.

He said that his department was looking into collecting recycleables from residential areas; a move that went together with the privatisation of rubbish collection.

“We will start collection of recyclable solid waste from homes once a week.

“This collection schedule will start on Sept 1, 2012, starting with the cities first after the concessionaires have completed distributing new bins to households and having a new fleet of vehicles,” he said.

The World Bank report said that Malaysia chose land- filling to get rid of its waste “95% to 97%” of the time, with the rest of the country’s trash incinerated, recycled or dumped illegally.”

It warned that the country’s rubbish dumps were dangerously filling up as a result.

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S’wak is full of rubbish

Posted on November 22, 2011. Filed under: Waste |

Free Malaysia Today

More than a fifth of Malaysia’s rubbish is stored in the state, according to a World Bank report.

PETALING JAYA: Sarawak holds the national record of having the most rubbish dumps in the country.

With a grand total of 63 landfills, the East Malaysian state has nearly twice as many midden heaps compared to the second runner-up, Johor (37).

According to the November 2011 ‘Malaysian Economic Monitor: Smart Cities Report’, 49 of Sarawak’s landfills were still running, with 14 of them no longer in operation.

This accounted for more than 21% of the country’s 296 landfills, despite the state constituting for only 8.7% (2.471 million) of Malaysia’s entire population (28.334 million).

Its neighbour, Sabah followed closely behind with 19 operational landfills, with two of them no longer running.

In comparison, Pahang, Perak and Selangor had 32, 29 and 22 total landfills respectively. Kuala Lumpur on the other hand did not have any operational landfills, although it did have seven non-operational landfills.

The only state or federal territory that was not included in the list was Putrajaya.

According to the report, Malaysia chose landfilling as a way to get rid of its waste “95% to 97%” of the time. The rest of Malaysia’s trash, it said, was either incinerated, recycled or dumped illegally.

The World Bank criticised this as a “business-as-usual” way about things, and warned that landfills across the country were dangerously filling up.

“The life expectancy of operating landfills is critically low. It is estimated that 42% of landfills have already surpassed their design capacity or are expected to exceed capacity within the next five yeas,” it said.

The report also did not elaborate as to why Sarawak received the lion’s share of the country’s trash.

Nevertheless, it said that Malaysia suffered from a poor management of the country’s landfills, citing fragmented ownership as well as operation of landfills.

Only eight out of the country’s total 296 landfills, the report said, were considered as “sanitary landfills”, adding that the non-sanitary ones were public health hazards.

“Non-sanitary landfills can give rise to environmental and public health hazards, such as leachates that contaminate surface and ground waters. This is clearly not sustainable in the long-term,” the report said.

It did not state how many of Sarawak’s landfills were sanitary or otherwise.

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Going green with biodegradable products

Posted on October 25, 2011. Filed under: Waste |

-The Star-

Biodegradable food containers are touted as a solution to our throwaway society but it appears that the answer is not that simple.

CONVENTIONAL plastics have been accused of a slew of crimes. They are said to deplete non-renewable resources such as oil and when disposed off, degrade extremely slowly, if at all. When carelessly discarded, they are an eyesore and can choke wildlife. They are also said to take up valuable landfill space.

This has led to a plethora of measures to replace plastics, especially for single-use applications, with other materials such as paper or bioplastics made of plant-based materials, like starch or complex sugars.

The central assumption behind such thinking is that paper or starch-based materials will degrade quickly and leave no trace after a few months or a year or two (common assumptions by people on what biodegradability is all about).

Switch, but carefully: There are alternatives to polystyrene disposables, but not all are independently certified to be biodegradable or compostable.

The move to replace plastics – such as shopping bags, packaging, food containers (clamshells, plates, cups, bowls) and cutlery – is currently focused on areas where they are the most visible. Penang has banned retailers from handing out free plastic bags to shoppers and disallowed food sellers in municipal council-operated hawker centres from using polystyrene clamshells and plates. Selangor is toying with the same idea.

Manufacturers of alternatives to disposable plastic foodware are quick to trumpet the biodegradability of their products. Selangor-based Greatpac, manufacturer of the Jasa Eco (jasa-eco.com) range of disposable tableware that is bio-based (a blend of 70% corn starch and 30% conventional polypropylene, or PP), said its products can be expected to degrade within five years after being landfilled.

“We are confident that 70% of the product will degrade and this is still better than totally no degradation,’’ said senior manager Douglas Tan.

The company also makes a polystyrene clamshell (codenamed JEF2) which contains additives that will make it biodegrade under low or zero oxygen (anaerobic) conditions. It clarified that while JEF2 is not a bio-based product (like its starch-based series), the clamshell can be expected to biodegrade within two to five years in local landfills (based on extrapolated lab results).

The Jasa Eco range of tableware includes biodegradable polystyrene foodware (the yellowish containers) that meets ASTM D5511-11 certification for biodegradability, and some disposable utensils that can claim to be compostable (available only for export at the moment).

Penang-based Return 2 Green (return2green.com.my), which makes clamshell boxes from agricultural waste such as sugarcane bagasse, said its products will “return to nature at 180 days of composting”.

Both companies offer products that need moisture, warmth, oxygen and microbial action to decompose, either partly or totally. This is in contrast to another range of plastic that does not need microbial action to decompose, a phenomenon known as oxodegradability (commonly seen in supermarket shopping bags, such as the ones offered by Carrefour).

Degrees of degradation

However, biodegradability itself is a debatable concept, and in the absence of a qualifying statement, a largely meaningless notion. One would be sadly mistaken if one thinks that putting the used lunchbox or plate into a compost pile would yield great results within weeks, which is what most people expect of a “biodegradable” product.

This plate — made of 70% corn-yam starch and 30% polypropylene — will be compostable if conditions stipulated under the ASTM D6400 are met in a composting facility.

The Great Garbage Project, conducted between 1987 and 1995 by a group of archaeologists from the University of Arizona in the United States, found newspapers which were still readable despite being buried for five years, and even retrieved 40-year-old newspapers from landfills, blowing away the misconception that the landfill is a huge composting facility that will take care of all biodegradable waste.

There are two types of biodegradation: aerobic (in the presence of oxygen) and anaerobic (without oxygen or in very low levels of oxygen). Aerobic degradation gives out water and carbon dioxide, while anaerobic degradation gives out methane, other than carbon dioxide and water. In the hundreds of open dumps found in the country, organic materials get piled up and create anaerobic conditions.

In properly managed sanitary landfills, such as those in North America, the law stipulates that the trash must be kept away, as much as possible, from moisture and sunlight, factors that speed up biodegradation. Hence, scientists now acknowledge that just because a material is organic does not mean that it will decompose as fast as we would like it to.

While it is clear that biodegradation cannot be taken for granted in landfills, Penang is placing its hope that the use of biodegradable foodware will somewhat help slow down the growth of waste. Its executive councillor for the environment, Phee Boon Poh, believes that such items will degrade in landfills, and help with waste management.

Whether a landfill should be managed in such a way as to speed up or retard biodegradability is still an open issue, contends Prof P. Agamuthu of Universiti Malaya’s Institute of Biological Sciences.

The bigger picture of solid waste management is a rather grim one. On a national scale, the current challenge is how to efficiently collect the 20,000 tonnes of waste that is being generated daily.

According to Datuk Dr Nadzri Yahaya, director-general of the National Solid Waste Management Department, there are presently 176 dumpsites, and many more are needed to handle the increasing amount of waste. It is understood that 11 more sanitary landfills will be built under the 10th Malaysia Plan, and five mini incinerators are expected to be running soon.

To Dr Nadzri, using biodegradable foodware is just substituting one throwaway product with another. “What benefit is there with a cornstarch plate replacing a polystyrene plate, when both are thrown out into the bin after use? Promoting throwaways is actually missing the bigger picture,’’ he said.

In countries where waste is incinerated, such as Singapore, biodegradable food containers offer no real benefits over conventional plastic disposables as waste is carted away daily to incinerators.

Disposable polystyrene foodware used and discarded during a festive open house.

Even if one is to accept the premise that biodegradable food containers will degrade anaerobically after a few years, it is doubtful whether this will lead to any real improvements in our landfills. The wet waste portion, consisting chiefly of food waste, contributes to around 45% of the average household waste (by weight), and sometimes up to 60%. This is followed by plastics (24%), paper (7%), metals (6%), glass (3%), while other miscellaneous materials make up the remaining 15%. After the extraction of recyclables, the mix that eventually gets buried in the dump contains nearly 70% food waste.

Even Greatpac acknowledges that no biodegradable food containers can degrade in a matter of weeks in our landfills, though it still argued that its products are better compared to plastics, and their decomposition under local conditions surpasses those found in North America. “Regular products may take more than 500 years to break down because they repel microbes but our products will break down between two to five years, which is still a vast improvement,’’ said Tan.

US-based company Natureworks LLC admitted that its polylactic plastic made of corn-derived sources (brand name Ingeo biopolymer, not sold here) will not biodegrade in American landfills “due to the low oxygen concentration and drop in temperature.”

Competing for food?

Some argue against using bioplastics on the grounds that the products employ food materials. Greatpac’s defence is that its products will not have an impact on the overall supply of food as it uses starch that is unfit for human consumption. “Industrial cornstarch comes from corn parts deemed not to be of high enough quality for human consumption. In that process, there is no waste as everything from the stalk to the leaves are used,” said the company on its website.

Likewise, Natureworks, a major producer of PLA (polylactic acid) plastics, said that the sugar (in the form of dextrose) used in its products is derived from corn grown for non-food applications. “Our production utilises dextrose as the base feedstock in a fermentation process which converts sugar to lactic acid. We use that lactic acid to create a polymer, which is later converted to a variety of packaging and fibre applications.

“When our plant is at capacity, Nature­Works LLC will use less than 0.05% of the available annual global corn crop. Our process does not require corn, but we only need a sugar source. This could include sugar beets, sugar cane, wheat and more. In the future we plan to move to non-food cellulosic feedstocks.”

Olive Green argued that hunger is a social phenomenon linked to poverty, and has nothing to do with crop substitution or land use patterns. “People are hungry because they are too poor to buy food. There is a shortage of purchasing power, not a shortage of food. It is not a question of whether we have enough food or how we deal with them, it is a question of how we can distribute the right food, at the right time, to the right people,” said the company on its website (olivegreen.com.sg).

Dr Theng Lee Chong, a solid waste management specialist, remains sceptical of such claims. “Starch is food, no matter if it is low-grade starch, or high-grade starch. Making food service utensils from these so-called renewable materials is akin to diverting food from the masses. Can we tell a starving African that low-grade starch cannot be eaten? And planting crops for the production of bioplastics would mean that real food crops would have to give way. There is always an opportunity cost to be paid.”

Biodegradable foodware also loses a bit of lustre when they are viewed from a life cycle inventory analysis (LCI) perspective.

The widespread cultivation of corn for plastics is not possible without a significant input of fossil fuel that comes in the form of fuel and electricity used by farm machinery, fertilisers (derived from oil), transport, and water consumption.

“From an LCI perspective, biodegradable plastics do have negative impacts, when you grow tapioca or corn just to produce it. So, the best thing is to avoid plastics in all forms and to use reusable containers,’’ said Agamuthu.

The Singapore National Environment Agency, for instance, specifies the use of reusable tableware when procuring catering services whenever possible, and encourages partners and other public sector agencies to be environmentally friendly in the organisation of events.

More methane

At the moment, the high percentage of food waste in Malaysia ends up producing landfill gas containing approximately 50% to 60% methane (by volume), and most is just vented into the atmosphere without any flaring or gas-capture systems. As methane has a global-warming potential 21 times greater than CO2, this poses a serious environmental problem. According to the national greenhouse gas inventory, landfills are the leading source of methane here, contributing more than half of this noxious emission (53%), followed by palm oil mills (38%). Seen in this light, widespread use of biodegradable foodware will in fact boost methane release.

Looking at some developed countries, a growing trend is to divert untreated organic waste like food waste, away from the landfill, rather than allowing it to ferment inside and produce methane. The European Union decreed in 2008 that untreated organic waste can no longer be landfilled. In these places, the solutions include industrial-scale composting, fermentation in digesters to produce methane for electricity, or waste-to-energy incinerators.

Some parties are already disenchanted with the promises of compostability. Early this month, the US Congress announced that 90% of the Capitol Complex’s non-recyclable solid waste, amounting to 5,385 tonnes per year, would be sent to waste-to-energy facilities soon, after an unsatisfactory experiment with composting in 2009 and 2010. The composting programme was cancelled in January; high cost was a major factor. Apparently, stocking the cafeteria with corn-based utensils and then subsequently transporting the waste to an on-site shredder only saved the amount of carbon emitted by a single car a year, but the price tag came close to RM1.5mil. Polystyrene foodware has now been reintroduced at the cafeteria.

Theng, the national co-ordinator of the Malaysia-Japan intergovernmental collaboration on solid waste management, said that the solution for Malaysia lies in concerted education on waste minimisation and proper recycling, so that more resources can be diverted from landfills in the first place.

In the light of what really happens (or is unlikely to happen) within a landfill, consumers need to be aware of marketing hype. Dr William Rathje, director of the Garbage Project, in his book Rubbish (co-authored with Cullen Murphy) summed up the situation well: “The truth is, however, that the dynamics of a modern landfill are very nearly the opposite of what most people think. Well-designed and managed landfills seem to be far more apt to preserve their contents for posterity than transform them into humus or mulch. They are not vast composters; rather they are vast mummifiers.”

As for Theng, the slew of so-called green products is an indication that unfettered commercialisation can sometimes take over the initially noble cause of creating a better environment. “Sometimes, it is just hype.”

 

PRICE FACTORUSING disposable ware, biodegradable or otherwise, has its advantages, if you ask those who are in the catering industry.

“I need to deploy much more manpower if the function has to use reusable plates, cups and cutlery. It is usual for guests to leave them all over the place, and the caterer will also have to absorb some breakages along the way,’’ said Norsyaliza Mohamad, assistant manager of Arena Events & Services.

Another operator said that manpower requirements can vary by up to 40% at a large function when reusable plates and cutlery are used. “And it is not enough to bring just 1,000 plates when you are catering for 1,000. You need to bring at least 2,000 plates as people are known to leave half-empty plates all over, and will not hesitate to grab a fresh plate. Using disposables is much easier as they are light and require no washing or collection,’’ said a cook from Creative Catering.

When Sariya Yatim, owner of Dapur Emas Catering, offered to use tableware made of tapioca, her customers were not interested as they did not want to pay for the price difference compared to foam plates. “But generally, most of my clients do not request for disposable tableware as the perception is that the event will not appear classy if disposable utensils are used,’’ she said.

A polystyrene clamshell can be as cheap as 7.5 sen each, or even less for larger orders, while a biodegradable option easily costs four times as much.

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Going green and clean

Posted on October 19, 2011. Filed under: Waste |

-The Star-
TO protect the environment for our future generations, various organisations have made a lot of effort to go green. This article highlights the green projects of three non-governmental organisations:

Waterfall Survivors

Waterfall Survivors is a social group founded on Facebook and now managed by Waterfall Explorers Sdn Bhd. The Facebook group was created on July 12, 2008 by Joe Yap. To date, Waterfall Survivors has left footprints at over 90 waterfalls in Malaysia after more than 200 trips.

Save our Waterfalls campaign is an initiative to protect and clean up waterfalls in Peninsular Malaysia.

Waterfall Survivors organises regular waterfall exploration trips, either as a daytrip or an overnight excursion. Its member count reached the 1,000th mark on Jan 3, 2009, barely five months after its inception. As at Oct 19, 2010 the count showed over 6,000 members.

Save Our Waterfalls (SOW) Campaign

Save Our Waterfalls campaign is an initiative to protect and clean up waterfalls in Peninsular Malaysia. The campaign is organised by Waterfall Survivors to raise public awareness about the availability of waterfalls in Malaysia.

This serves two purposes – to highlight new waterfalls for nature lovers to visit and to emphasise the need for greater civic awareness to keep our waterfalls pristine and litter-free. The campaign is also intended to promote tourism in Malaysia, especially eco-tourism and create new opportunities for the local communities.

The Save Our Waterfalls campaign also provides a platform for businesses and corporations to carry out Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) projects.

Lastly, the campaign also hopes to help ease the maintenance burdens of park managements and local municipalities by engaging members of the public to help in cleaning-up activities while advocating the minimisation of waste generated by waterfall visitors.

The campaign objectives are to preserve our natural heritage for future generations; to give back to the environment and the community via clean up and awareness programmes and to instil civic consciousness among Malaysians.

Waterfall Survivors organises regular waterfall exploration trips.

Batu Ferringhi Beach Cleaning Campaign

Last April, AEON Co (M) Bhd was involved in a beach-cleaning project at Batu Ferringhi Beach, Penang organised by the Penang State Government where it collected 50kg of discarded waste along the beach.

Pantai Remis, Jeram Beach Clean-Up Project

The beach clean-up project took place on Oct 30 last year at a popular destination for family outings and picnickers, Pantai Remis in Jeram, a coastal town in Kuala Selangor. Through this campaign, AEON hoped that the local residents and, especially picnickers, would learn to appreciate this wonderful gift from Mother Nature, and take the responsibility of maintaining the cleanliness of Pantai Remis and its surroundings.

The educational and fun-filled day was organised by the Centre North Region 2 AEON Outlets – AEON Bukit Tinggi Shopping Centre; JUSCO Bandar Baru Klang Shopping Centre; JUSCO Bandar Utama;, JUSCO Bandar Sunway and Pasar Raya MaxValu Kota Kemuning.

As part of the long-term commitment to preserve the cleanliness of Pantai Remis, AEON also handed over 10 rubbish bins and three recycling bins to the Majlis Daerah Kuala Selangor. These recycling bins would be placed at the picnic and recreational areas along the beach.

The Body Shop

On the third weekend of September each year, gatherings of hundreds of thousands of people who want to make a difference take place around the world.

The annual International Coastal Cleanup (ICC) is one of the largest volunteer events for the marine and shoreline environments in the world and volunteers will descend on beaches, lakes and streams all over the planet to pick up trash and debris.

As country coordinator for The Ocean Conservancy in the United States, The Body Shop in Peninsular Malaysia has been organising and sponsoring the Annual Beach Cleanup in conjunction with the International Coastal Clean-up on an annual basis since 1992. Since then, there has been a tremendous increase in volunteer support and participation in this initiative.

To date, there are over 3,000 volunteers with an increase in youth participation – a strong indication of more young people subscribing to this world’s largest volunteer activity and being conscious about the environment.

For over two decades, the ICC is not just about picking up trash and debris, but volunteers must also collect information about the items they find. The data collected will be submitted to The Ocean Conservancy for analysis.

Data collected includes figures from 1986 to the most recent clean-up. It provides an insight into the causes and sources of marine debris and serves as a means to educate the public on prevention methods and solutions.

In Malaysia, over 50% of total debris found came from shoreline and recreational activities like picnics, festivals, sporting events and beach outings. Litter was also washed from streets, parking lots and storm drains.

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Penang to host pilot E-waste project

Posted on October 19, 2011. Filed under: Waste |

-The Sun-

GEORGE TOWN (Oct 18, 2011): Electrical and electronic waste experts from the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) are currently working out a suitable E-waste collection system for the public in Penang.

Among the methods being considered by the experts, commissioned by the Department of Environment (DOE), is the drop-off-point system, where people can discard their electrical or electronic products at a designated spot.

Other options being looked into include designating a building to house the collection, sticking to the current municipal waste collection or a hybrid of all three.

Penang E-waste Project team leader Hideki Wada told theSun that the pilot project, expected to be implemented in Penang in June 2012, would establish a systematic and financially sustainable E-waste collection system suitable for Penangites.

“We want this (E-waste collection system) to be sustainable even after we have left,” he said.

The DOE will be the implementing agency with the cooperation of the Penang Island Municipal Council.

The E-waste collection system implemented in Penang is expected to be expanded throughout the country if successful.

The DOE website currently already lists six E-waste collection centres on the island and 29 on the mainland.

The public can drop off their unwanted mobile phones, computers and televisions at these centres for recovery of precious but toxic materials inside the devices.

Hideki said the team along with DOE and MPPP officials would also be examining the legal and regulatory aspect of E-waste collection for the country.

“We will also be looking at (formulating) new regulations or legislation so that the collection system can be carried out properly,” he said.

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No More Indiscriminate Dumping Of Garbage- Part 2

Posted on September 28, 2011. Filed under: Waste |

By Sakini Mohd Said

The following, the second of two features, is the outcome of an interview by Bernama with Director-General Datuk Dr Nadzri Yahaya of the Department of National Solid Waste Management.

PUTRAJAYA, Sept 27 (Bernama) — When a report says the country today generates 27,000 tonnes of solid waste a day, various questions arise.

The first is: Is it possible that the initial estimate of 30,000 tonnes a day of solid waste generated in the country has to be revised based on the report?

Secondly, are there enough garbage disposal sites in the country to meet the increase in generated solid waste?

Some people may say this matter has no significant impact on the country’s economy.

To them, only activities that spur economic and technological growth deserve attention in the effort to achieve developed status for Malaysia.

However, the fact remains that every industrial activity — and domestic ones — contribute to the generation of solid waste.

The Malaysian population is reported to have reached 28.3 million (based on the Population and Housing Census in 2010), where more solid waste will be generated.

But there are still many who believe that the management of solid waste disposal has got nothing to do with them.

Why is that so?

STILL BACKWARD The national campaign on recycling was launched close to 12 years ago with the involvement of various parties, including local authorities, garbage disposal concessionaires and non-governmental organisations (NGOs).

The nation’s current recycling rate is reported at only a mere five percent, however.

When compared with other nations – such as Germany (74 percent), Belgium (71 percent), Austria (67 percent) and Holland (66 percent) — Malaysia is a long way behind.

Where has the country gone wrong? “The fact that people have to look for a recycling centre, and send the recyclables themselves, is a factor in why the public is not keen enough to recycle,” Dr Nadzri told Bernama.

“The lack of awareness of how to recycle, where many still put all the garbage into one bin, is another reason,” he said.

The Solid Waste Management and Public Cleaning Act 2007 Act 672), in force since Sept 1, is seen as having huge potential in educating the public about recycling.

The act makes it a requirement for the public to separate recyclables from solid waste. A penalty will be imposed on those who fail to do so.

TRANSFORMATION OF NATION’S SOLID WASTE MANAGMENT Even though the act was approved in 2007 and came into force on Sept 1, it is seen as opening a new chapter in the nation’s solid waste management.

The act is expected to improve public awareness and reduce the amount of rubbish sent to disposal sites.

With the act, the government expects to implement the privatisation of household solid waste collection.

It is also expected to take over the management of solid waste and public cleaning services from local authorities.

The act is to be implemented in phases, Dr Nadzri said.

“In the first phase, concessionaires will distribute 120-litre bins to housing estates free of charge in all state capitals, except in states that opt not to fully implement privatisation until next Sept 1 (Selangor, Perak and Pulau Pinang).

“After one year, the garbage bins will be distributed to all municipal and district councils,” he said.

“These bins are for the non-recyclable refuse such as diapers, food leftovers and so forth.

“For recycleables such as glass, bottles and paper, the consumers should separate them from the rest of the garbage, and not dump them together in the same bin,” he said.

The garbage collection schedule will be changed into a 2+1 system, where two days are for collecting organic wastes while the other day will be for recyclable items.

About the new management system, Dr Nadzri said, “There is a difference.

“Now the collection is not according to regulations or schedule. There is leachate dripping from garbage compacter lorries.

“Under the new system, consumers can expect no leachate, as new lorries will be used and garbage will be segregated into non-recyclables and recyclables.”

WILL IT BE EFFECTIVE? Concessionaires will be monitored by the Solid waste Management and Public Cleaning Corporation (PPSPPA) to ensure proper management of solid waste disposal A Key Performance Index (KPI) will be imposed on concessionaires doing the job.

Concessionaires are Alam Flora (central zone), Southern Waste Management Sdn Bhd (south zone), and Environment Idaman Sdn Bhd for the peninsula’s north zone. As the country now has a low recycling rate, enforcement of the act allows two years for people to familiarise themselves with the programme before any action is taken.

Hence, various campaigns, including those in cooperation with NGOs, need to be intensified to boost awareness on the importance of recycling.

Recycling enables more items to be reused, and reduces the amount of garbage sent to dump sites.

“At the moment, we have 296 dump sites and only 166 are still operational,” Dr Nadzri said.

“Of the 166, only eight are sanitary disposal sites. Among them is that in Bukit Tagar, and this site can last up to 50 years.

“Let’s say that one cell at the site can last up to five years before another cell is opened for disposal of solid waste. Under the implementation of this act, the cell can last longer when separation of garbage can be done at home,” he said.

The time has arrived for all in the society to realise that their involvement is crucial in the management of the country’s solid wastes.

Without this awareness, it is going to be difficult for the county to achieve developed status, as effectiveness in managing solid waste is taken into account before a country achieves developed status.

– BERNAMA

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‘Indifferent’ Over Waste Disposal- Part 1

Posted on September 26, 2011. Filed under: Waste |

Despite the many awareness programmes held by authorities on waste disposal, many people are still indifferent to this issue.

The following, the first of two features, looks into the lackadaisical attitude of some toward the importance of proper solid waste disposal.

SERDANG, Sept 26 (Bernama) — Garbage has always been an issue at both night- and farmers’ markets, at other open places, and at covered buildings where buyers and sellers convene for the sale of goods, including daily essentials.

But after the trading has ended, there will no more sellers and buyers. Usually, the marketplace becomes deserted. What is left behind are piles and piles of garbage.

There is nothing new about this in Malaysian life, and similar scenarios can be seen elsewhere, too.

Garbage from food and other leftovers discarded by irresponsible visitors and traders can be seen strewn about at recreational spots, such as waterfalls and picnic sites.

This points to the indifference of some members of the society to the importance of proper management of solid waste disposal, according to Prof Madya Dr Mohd Bakri Ishak, a lecturer in Industrial Waste management and Environment Law at Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM).

DISEASES

Last year, the emergence of leptospirosis and the rise in cases of dengue raised attention to the practice of hygiene and to the cleanliness of some members of the society.

Some remain unperturbed over reports on the prevalence of these diseases.

Does this imply that public concern over the importance of proper solid waste management has gone down to a low level?

Health authorities have pointed out that a lack of cleanliness is a contributing factor in leptospirosis, a disease caused by contact with rat urine.

In the middle of last year, several visitors to recreational sites in the country succumbed to this fatal disease.

It is the same with dengue. Dirty and garbage-strewn surroundings are among the conditions that hasten the breeding of the Aedes mosquito.

Some operators of eateries are indifferent to the proper disposal of food leftovers. Their lackadaisical attitude has invited rats, cockroaches and flies to their premises.

These pests bring diseases, and the patrons of these restaurants risk contracting diseases if they consume food contaminated by the pests.

NOT IN MY BACKYARD

The indifference shown by some members of the society can be seen as a “not in my backyard” attitude.

Some individuals are only concerned over the cleanliness of their homes and do not care what happens elsewhere.

“As long as the garbage is not at my house, I don’t mind,” say some individuals.

Some even resort to sweeping and dumping their garbage on the property of their neighbours. As long as their house compounds remain clean!

“Even though the housing area that we live in is clean, the dirty environment out there still may hold negative consequences,” Mohd Bakri told Bernama here recently.

Mohd Bakri is concerned over the society’s attitude in leaving to authorities the task of proper waste disposal.

He expressed dismay over some individuals who have a “let the authorities worry about it and do the job” attitude.

Some simply throw the garbage at any spot if there are no garbage bins around, he lamented.

“This should not happen when the nation is making brisk steps to become developed,” he said.

RECYCLING

The society’s involvement in recycling programmes is still low – roughly only five percent, compared to other nations.

This reflects a lack of concern over the proper management of garbage disposal.

People tend to mix the various domestic solid wastes into one garbage bin. This has made recycling a difficult process.

Items that can be recycled should be separated from other rubbish, said Mohd Bakri.

While attending a SIRIM-organised conference on waste management in Sarawak recently, he learned that some solid wastes have high water contents.

“I was told (at the conference) that solid waste in our country has much higher water content than that in Germany and other nations in Europe,” he said.

Hence, recyclables need to be dried, and this indirectly hampers the recycling process, he said.

The water content in solid wastes can be transformed into leachate, which has a foul smell, and negatively impacts human health.

(Leachate is any liquid which, in passing through matter, extracts solutes, suspended solids or any other component of the material through which it has passed.)

“In 2006, we are shocked over news that rivers were polluted by leachate,” said Mohd Bakri.

RESPONSIBILITY OF ALL

He said that proper garbage disposal is the responsibility of all, and should not be left to the authorities and concessionaires contracted to do the job.

This attitude has to change.

Mohd Bakri attributes the indifference a lack of awareness campaigns.

“It is not because that the campaigns held earlier were not successful. But more such campaigns are needed. Many people do not know that solid wastes can be recycled.

“This is based on my experience when conducting research on electrical and electronic wastes in several towns. Many people called for more awareness campaigns to be carried out.

“I feel it is time for more of such campaigns to be held, in line with the Solid Waste Management and Public Cleanliness Act 2007 (Act 672), which comes into force on Sept 1 this year,” he said.

Under the Act, households are required to separate reyclable items from other garbage before sending them out for disposal.

Mohd Bakri is confident that the Act will be able to raise public awareness of garbage management, as it focuses on separation of garbage right from its source.

It is hoped that with the enforcement of this act, awareness among the public about proper solid waste disposal will improve.

– BERNAMA

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