Proper garbage disposal method needed


The Star, December 29, 2009

KUALA LUMPUR: The climate changes and high-moisture waste were the factors that made garbage disposal dumps the sole method for efficient garbage disposal in the country.

The other method, the incinerator like that used in Langkawi was unable to meet the disposal of more than 19,000 tonnes of garbage generated daily by the nation apart from consuming a lot of power.

The cost for constructing an incinerator was also much higher when compared to that for constructing a garbage disposal dump. The former was also able to dispose garbage of much lesser amount.

The other factor was that incinerator was also not cost-effective when coming to garbage disposal.

“A RM1.5bil incinerator can only dispose up to 1,200 tons of garbage daily, but a sanitary garbage disposal dump built at the cost of RM120mil like that at Bukit Tagar is able to dispose more than 3,000 tons of garbage daily”, according to civil engineer Mohd Fatimi Said.

According to a source, the government will upgrade 30 of the 175 existing waste disposal dumps into sanitary facilities by the end of 2010. The move did not include the nine to be constructed sanitary garbage disposal sites to be constructed.

Among the locations marked for the construction of these sanitary garbage disposal dumps were Sungai Udang (Melaka, Lahat (Ipoh, Perak), Bukit Jembalang (Kemaman, Terengganu) and Ladang Tanah Merah (Negeri Sembilan).

Plus the seven existing sanitary garbage disposal dumps, this will bring the number of such facilities nationwide by the end of the Ninth Malaysia Plan to 46, said the source.

For the Solid Waste Management and Public Cleansing Corporation (PPSPPA), the agency has initiated several measures to overcome the shortage of garbage dumpsites and existence of illegal dumps in the country.

Among them was the implementation of solid waste management strategy based on ‘waste hierachy’ to reduce the volume of garbage sent to disposal sites, as practised in many developed nations.

Among the measures undertaken were the reduction of wastes at the source at all premises, encouraging reuse and boosting the quality of items that can be recycled.

It was learnt that the approach was taken as it did not involve provisions of the Solid Waste Management and Public Cleansing Act 2007 (Act 672).

The government had encouraged the private sector to invest in green technology in the effort to boost efficiency of more environmental-friendly energy usage towards facing the changes in the global climate.

At the recent United Nations Organisation Conference On climate Changes in Copenhagen, Denmark, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak stated Malaysia’s commitment to cut the percentage of carbon dioxide emissions by 40% by the year 2020 with assistance from the developed nations.

The media has reported that the government had carried out a pilot project on waste separation at source in Putrajaya with the aim of improving public awareness on recycling to reduce the volume of wastes needed to be disposed.

The joint-venture effort by the PPSPPA, Solid Waste Management Department, Putrajaya Corporation, Alam Flora and Konsortium SSI-Schaefer was aimed to reduce by 40% the volume of garbage sent for disposal.

“The Solid Waste Management and Public Cleansing Act focuses on recycling and has a special allocation for separation of wastes at the source,” Housing and Local Government Minister Datuk Seri Kong Cho Ha was quoted as saying in the media.

The pilot project that began last Aug 29 involved 170 apartments at Precint 8, 276 houses (Precint 9) and 105 houses (Precint 10) where each household was provided with two garbage bins of different types, one for organic waste and the other for non-organic waste that can be recycled.

This way, the respondent would be able to recycle and reduce the amount of rubbish sent to disposal sites and at the same time the organic waste can be turned into compost and used for other purposes.

In other words, the separation of garbage at source will assist to lengthen the lifespan of a garbage disposal dump.

PPSPPA Chief Executive Officer Datuk Zaini Md Nor said the corporation viewed the issue based in the overall context and not limited to collection of garbage and construction of dumps.

He said the PPSPPA, established under Act 673 - the Solid Waste Management and Public Cleansing Corporation Act 2007 that began operations on June 1, 2008, was responsible to monitor, supervise and enforce solid waste management and public cleansing in the country.

Among its roles was to enforce Act 672 and made improvisation recommendations whenever necessary.

PPSPPA was also responsible to inculcate public awareness and encourage public participation for sustainable management of public waste and cleansing such as reduction in waste and lodging reports on illegal dumping.

The corporation was also responsible for new technology research related, among else, to recycling technology, ‘waste to energy’ technology, and waste treatment facilitating technology.

According to Zaini, in the short run the corporation would manage the implementation of closing non-operating garbage disposal dumps, upgrading and construction of new disposal sites as planned by the Solid Waste Management Department in the Ninth Malaysia Plan.

“The corporation is the implementor of policies determined by the department”, he said.

The PPSPPA also collaborated with the concessionaires to improve the garbage collection schedule that frequently received complaints from the public apart from providing feedback to the local authorities.

The garbage collection issue should be dealt with first before the public’s mentality on recycling is changed.

The corporation, with the staff count of 900 at 52 district and state offices nationwide, was optimistic towards implementing its responsibilities in making Malaysia a clean country as required by its vision.

“To make the vision a success, we need the support of the society”, said Zaini, adding that PPSPPA was conducting a survey on public awareness for recycling that involved over 45,000 respondents nationwide since last August.

“The study is expected to be completed by end of this month. Through it, we will know the level of public awareness, problems and their suggestions in this issue,” said Zaini. -- Bernama

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