‘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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