The Star

Premises with more rubbish to pay extra for clearing services, says DBKU

KUCHING: Beginning this Jan 1, the Kuching City North Commission (DBKU) will adopt a “Polluter Pays Principle” citywide, starting with commercial and residential turned commercial sites.

The commission has directed Trienekens (Sarawak) Sdn Bhd to issue extra bins to heavy rubbish dumpers who will in return, be charged more than regular users.

Datuk Bandar Datuk Abang Abdul Wahap Abang Julai told The Star here that extra bins had been issued upon requests in the past. However, the system depended too much on people’s sense of responsibility, he added.

“So starting next year, (there’ll be) no more. If you repeatedly dump extra waste, Trienekens will take note and larger bins or extra ones will be delivered to your address.

“You’ll have to pay extra. Say, you’ve turned your property into a homestay or other kinds of businesses, and you dump more rubbish than you are supposed to. Thus you must get extra bins.

“It is only fair. You cannot pay the same (low rate) as everyone else but expect extra services,” he said in an exclusive interview here.

In turn, Abdul Wahap said those with the extra bins could also expect better services from DBKU.

He said the Polluter Pays Principle was set partly to deal with the proliferation of home businesses such unregistered hotels, mini Kek Lapis factories and even karaoke joints.

“There are a lot of businesses operating in residential areas and also shoplots being converted into small hotels. We have kept the statistics. On one hand, we are not taking much action as it also involves Land and Survey (Department) and others, but still DBKU is keeping an eye on these people.”

Although he did not disclose the figures, Abdul Wahap said the commission was aware that the number of premises was substantial.

The Polluter Pays Principle is widely adopted in developed nations, where it is also known as the “Extended Producer Responsibility”.

The fair pay scheme, which some view as a polluting penalty, came as part of broader principles to guide sustainable development worldwide — formally known as the “1992 Rio Declaration”.

It has also been applied more specifically to emissions of greenhouse gases that are mainly responsible for the global climate change.

Such moves have gained significant social acceptance in most developed nations like the UK and Canada, while developing countries including India have increasingly copied similar policies in dealing with rapid urbanisation.

Recently, DBKU’s sister organisation, Kuching City South Council (MBKS) revealed that the Travillion Commercial Centre — which houses an odd mix of bars, clubs and government offices — was one of the worst illegal dumping sites in Sarawak.

Mayor Datuk James Chan said an average of four tonnes of rubbish was being illegally disposed of at Travillion every week.

“Four tonnes just at one place in a week — can you believe it? Tolong lah (please), help ourselves,” Chan told reporters last month after chairing a full council meeting here.

Abdul Wahap shared Chan’s frustration.

“We have illegal dumping scattered throughout (the city). It’s never one single site which (if it had been), would make it easier for us to clear and enforce the laws,” the Datuk Bandar said.

He believed that local communities would be the best “weapon” against illegal dumping. At “Bandar Baru Samariang, we have turned illegal the dumping sites into community gardens. We told the residents: ‘Form your own club, gather volunteers and use this cleared site to plant vegetables, fruits, or anything you like’.

“Once they have that sense of ownership, they’d make sure that illegal dumping wouldn’t occur,” Abdul Wahap stressed.


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