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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