Good riddance to bad rubbish … hello 3Rs!

AT least we in Malaysia don’t have to do this where solid waste management is concerned: In a certain town in the Philippines, engaged couples must attend a lecture on solid waste management and tree planting in order to secure their marriage licence – all because of “the alarming issue of climate change and global warming and many couples are not even aware of the need to keep a balanced ecology”.

Seriously, to each his own.On the home front, the Solid Waste and Public Cleansing Management Act 2007 (Act 672) became effective from Sept 1.For those living in landed properties, waste collection will be done in a more professional way by privatised concessionaires which are always subject to the required key performance indicators (KPIs) imposed on them, said Housing and Local Government Minister Datuk Wira Chor Chee Heung.

For those living in stratified units such as flats, apartments and condominiums, the management corporation of these premises would have a set of rules on disposal of waste generated from the units to be loaded into bigger bins provided by the privatised concessionaires for disposal according to schedules.

For shophouses and eateries, there would be a lot of difference in the services rendered by local authorities (LAs) in the past because the privatised concessionaires will be more frequent in clearing and disposing of the waste generated in shophouses and public places.

However, Chor pointed out that privately-run eateries and markets are not covered under the privatised concessionaires’ services. 

Another exemption will be establishments in industrial estates as well as factories and plants situated in industrial zones. Here, the privatised concessionaires’ service contracts do not cover such areas as the waste generated is not deemed household waste both in terms of quantity and quality but factory waste.

For such establishments in industrial estates and zones, they would have to make special arrangement with the privatised concessionaires to separately dispose of their solid waste.

Or they would have to engage an alternative company that is licensed by the Department of National Solid Waste Management under the Ministry of Housing and Local Government (KPKT) to collect and dispose of their solid waste.

“In other words, the services covered by the privatised concessionaires include landed residences, stratified residential units, shophouses and public places such as markets and hawker centres within the operational areas of LAs,” Chor said. 

Dos and don’ts 

In order for the privatised concessionaires of solid waste management under Act 672 to be successful, the responsibilities of all stakeholders spelt out in the Act and all the regulations made thereto must be upheld at all times, he noted.

For instance, owners of premises must always remember to tie up organic waste in plastic bags before it is thrown into rubbish bins provided by the privatised concessionaires. Also, they have to take good care of the rubbish bins.

For to the privatised concessionaires, they would have to strictly comply with their responsibilities in collecting and disposing of waste, whether organic or inorganic, as per the schedule, which is three times a week in accordance with the KPIs imposed on them.

On the other hand, the rakyat must be responsible enough and be civic minded not to litter indiscriminately. 

Solid Waste and Public Cleansing Management Corporation, the statutory body enacted under the Solid Waste and Public Cleansing Management Corporation Act (Act 673), must be equally vigilant in its enforcement work to ensure the privatised concessionaires comply strictly with what it has set out for them. 

Solid waste management aside, Chor said the essence of Act 672 also covers the public cleansing management aspect such as cleaning drains, sweeping roads and cutting grass that grows by the sidewalks and side of drains. 

On the three privatised concessionaires, Chor said they were selected 14 years ago out of 50 companies in a public tender exercise and awarded contracts to carry out management of solid waste and of public cleansing. 

They are Syarikat E-Idaman Sdn Bhd, responsible for the collection of household solid waste in Kedah and Perlis; Alam Flora Sdn Bhd in Kelantan, Terengganu, Pahang, Federal Territory of Kuala Lumpur and Putrajaya; and SWM Environment Sdn Bhd in Johor, Malacca and Negri Sembilan. 

As to the duties and responsibilities of stakeholders, he said the spirit of Act 672 is also to ensure the incidence of illegal dumping by irresponsible parties is brought down to a minimum. 

“KPKT will play its role through the Department of National Solid Waste Management – via policy formulation and legislations and putting up strategies for waste management – and through Solid Waste and Public Cleansing Management Corporation in the enforcement aspect.” 

On his expectations of Act 672 and the next steps, he said: “As minister in charge of housing and local government, it’s my fervent hope that all the stakeholders play their part well for the benefit of the country and future generations through the federal government’s efforts in the solid waste privatisation exercise.

“I want to see a more efficient way to manage solid waste thereby contributing to a clean and healthy environment for our people to live in and play. 

“I’m now working on the other end of solid waste management, that is, the final destination for solid waste through incineration, sanitary landfills and other waste management technologies.” 

He continued, “We’ve studied the experiences of advanced countries in tackling the management of solid waste. 

“Malaysia is now generating about 22,000 tonnes of solid waste daily and the volume is expected to increase to 30,000 tonnes daily by 2020. 

“What we are experiencing in our country, including the problems of managing solid waste, are what the others are, too. The privatisation exercise can be seen from a new light, that is, it comes under the `People First, Performance Now’ approach.” 

His explanation: Through the privatisation path, the management of solid waste would be very much higher than what was chargeable by the LAs – varying from RM2.30 to RM12 monthly per household. It now costs the government about RM8 monthly per household on the average. 

“However, as a responsible government, the rakyat will only pay the existing assessment tax (cukai pintu) to the LAs and the difference will be borne by the government,” he added.




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