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.



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