DOMESTIC waste in Kuala Lumpur is now collected only twice a week compared to three times previously to initiate the mandatory “separation at source” plan.
City folk are expected to adapt to the new schedule in preparation for the plan which starts in September.
“Separation at source” is a plan to get households to separate the recyclables and non-recyclables.
Those who fail to do so can be fined RM1,000.
The move will be implemented in all states under the Enforcement of Act 672 Federalisation of Solid Waste Management.
Solid Waste Management and Public Cleansing Corporation (SWCorp) corporate and public relations information officer Hartini Mhd Azmi said the new schedule was also known as 2+1.
It meant that collection would be two days for organic/non- recyclables waste and one day for bulk/recyclables waste collection in a week.
“The previous schedule was three days for domestic waste and one day for bulk waste collection.
“The notion that reduced collection days will result in increased volume of wastes (food wastes, recyclables and bulky wastes) and overflowing bins, is not true.
“On the contrary, this initiative will encourage the public to carry out the 3Rs (reduce, reuse, recycle) in their homes as the ‘2+1’ is for collection of recyclables and bulk waste,” she said.
Hartini said when the 3Rs was practised diligently, volume of wastes could be reduced by reusing and recycling of resources.
“The amount of waste can be reduced significantly as food waste can be turned into compost.
“It will also optimise public funds as reducing collection times per week shall equate to reducing the cost of managing solid waste, particularly in Kuala Lumpur,” she said.
Hartini said Alam Flora Sdn Bhd issued pamphlets and put up notice boards to inform the people on the new collection schedule.
Alam Flora chief executive officer Mohd Zain Hassan said the trial run started in phases from February last year.
“The main reason for the new schedule is to get people to recycle. It is not that we do not have the resources or manpower.
“SWCorp is paying Alam Flora by premises, so Alam Flora should collect waste from house to house and every household must use the bin provided,” he said.
Mohd Zain said the people were throwing away resources.
“To make a tonne of papers, you have to cut down 17 trees. Those who are into this business will understand the gravity of the situation. We are borrowing this earth from our children,” he said.
“In every kilogramme of waste, only 4% is food and the rest are recyclables.
“It was then decided that we use the 120l wheelie bin that can accommodate more waste.
“The bin is high and has a lid to ensure pests and animals cannot reach it. Odour is also contained inside,” he added.
Importance of using the bin
Mohd Zain said a bin was distributed to every landed property to stop people from leaving garbage bags on the road, or hanging from gates or trees.
“Acts like these attract pests, cats and dogs scouring for food and mess up the area.
“The use of bins will ensure a more hygienic environment for the people and the surrounding.
“It also improves the safety of the garbage collectors. Without the bins, the workers have direct contact with the garbage bags, where there are many germs and possibly harmful things,” he said.
He recalled an incident in 2001, when one of their staff was infected with HIV virus after he was accidentally pricked by a needle during his rounds.
“We do not want a repeat of the incident. The bins that we distribute can be fitted into the comb lifter which is attached to the compactor and lifts the bins to empty its content.
“So, the workers will not have direct contact with the garbage bags.
“The commonly used outdoor rubbish bin is not compatible with the comb lifter,” he said.
Mohd Zain said the people also need to learn the proper method of waste disposal.
“A lot of the waste collected in our compactor is liquid. Malaysian food is full of gravy and many do not drain the liquid before disposing of the solids. This speeds up the decomposing process faster and makes it more smelly.”
He said the bins should be washed at least once a week, adding that the bin should be wheeled out of their compound on collection days only,” he added.
Mohd Zain said the collection day for recyclable and bulk wastes for most areas was on a Saturday.
“Do not put recyclables in the bins provided, instead tie it, ideally, in a biodegradable plastic bag and put it next to the bin. Or you can take them out when you see the Alam Flora compartmental open truck in your neighbourhood.
Awareness and information
Alam Flora has a team called Eco Rangers that are currently in Putrajaya, disseminating information on the 3Rs.
Mohd Zain said the main task of the special agents was to educate, create awareness, and inform the public on the importance of recycling through activities by using roving methods patrolling from one area to another.
“Roving is an increasingly popular method in this country, where information to the public can be disseminated more simply, fast and to precise target groups.
“The Eco Rangers agents would conduct talk and distribute leaflets related to 3R,” he added.
Bukit Bandaraya Residents Association chairman Datuk M. Ali said although they were in favour of the new system and its effort to recycle and reduce waste, the implementation was not proper.
“We were approached last year for a pilot project to test the new schedule for two weeks.
“On the third week, the new schedule was applied to the whole of Bangsar without consultation or assessment after the testing period,” he said.
“However, Alam Flora workers are also picking up the recyclables put next to the bins and dumping it in the compactors, which defeats the purpose of separation,” he added.
Seputeh Residents Association president Dr P. Balaeswaran said they were caught off guard when the collection days were reduced in their neighbourhood early this year.
“We lodged a complaint and soon a meeting was set up between the committee, and officers from SW Corp and Alam Flora.
“The new system was explained to us and now everything is going smooth.
“We also have a Whatsapp group to effectively communicate with each other,” he said.