WHERE does our rubbish go once it leaves our home in garbage trucks?
1. Trash is collected from our homes three times a week by a designated garbage contractor assigned by our municipal or city council. Sometimes, the collectors pick out recyclable items from the waste.
2. Once they have completed their route, the trucks will travel to a transfer station. Domestic waste from Kuala Lumpur is usually dropped off at the Taman Beringin station while in Selangor, trucks will go to the Shah Alam station.
3. Larger compacted garbage trucks will then be filled with between 16 and 18 tonnes of waste before going to the designated sanitary landfills (Bukit Tagar in Hulu Selangor, Jeram in Kuala Selangor or Tanjung Dua Belas in Kuala Langat).
4. Prior to the opening of sanitary landfills, waste collected was dumped at sites that lack proper facilities to manage leachate and landfill gases which lead to a host of environmental problems such as polluted rivers.
5. At the Bukit Tagar sanitary landfill, compacted garbage trucks will unload the collected waste into a cell (a hole which has been dug and surrounded with HDPE membrane liners) with a proper leachate drainage and treatment system.
6. Leachate is drained into sequential batch reactor lagoons equipped with aerators to treat the leachate collected. It is then conveyed to reed beds (comprising Phragmites plants) which are capable of absorbing residue in the treated leachate to further improve its quality.
7. Treated leachate is then used to water various types of trees planted near the sanitary landfill with sprinklers daily.
8. Landfill gas produced is also treated to generate electricity as a sustainable source of energy.
9. The lifespan of the three sanitary landfills in the Klang Valley is between 16 and 70 years. Once they have reached their full capacity, the landfills can be turned into different recreational spaces.
Find out tomorrow what some sanitary landfills overseas have become.