RESIDENTS at high-rises have been given a reprieve by Solid Waste Management and Public Cleansing Corporation (SWCorp) in compulsory waste separation.
SWCorp Enforcement Unit senior assistant director Sharudin Hamid said residents in this category would not be penalised yet and they would be given time to learn the process of separating and disposing the recyclable items in their premises.
He said that although enforcement was ongoing, the authority would not issue compounds to any of the residential high-rise joint management bodies (JMBs) just yet.
“We are still engaging with JMBs on this matter and while there are some good ones (JMBs) who are taking the initiative to follow the rules, their numbers are small,” he said.
“Less than 10% are actually making the effort and to me, this is very worrying,” he added.
Sharudin shot down claims by some JMBs that the local authorities were not communicating with them.
“We have been talking to them since last year about separating their kitchen waste from the recyclable items, but they must make the effort to change,” he said.
He was responding to StarMetro’s front-page story that hundreds of recycling cages were not being properly utilised.
Many of these cages provided by waste management company Alam Flora Sdn Bhd to residents in June have been destroyed, vandalised or simply left empty. In some areas, the cages were burnt.
Measuring 2.13m in height, 0.91m in width and 3.04m in length, each recycling cage costs RM1,200.
It is estimated that half, if not more, are not being used properly.
The cages were given to JMBs of high-rise buildings earlier this year in stages so that residents could start practising separating their waste before the mandatory waste separation at source ruling kicked in on June 1.
Under Act 672, it is mandatory for households in the Federal Territory to separate solid waste at source and it is being implemented and enforced in Kuala Lumpur, Putrajaya, Pahang, Johor, Malacca, Negri Sembilan, Perlis and Kedah.
When contacted, most JMB and management committee (MC) members in Kuala Lumpur said they were not sure how to use the recycling cages in their high-rises.
“We were never informed about it and no one told us or showed us how to use it,” said Neo S.H., a member of the Palm Court management committee.
“Of course some may say simple instructions are available, but Alam Flora and SWCorp should still make an effort to engage with us,” he said.
Tong Weng Mansion and Tong Soon Mansion, two medium-cost apartments in Brickfields, are also struggling to get their residents to segregate recyclable items.
“Eighty percent of our residents are foreigners and they are just tenants so they do not care about recycling, as seen in the sorry-looking recycling cages here,” said Tong Weng management committee chairman G.S. Maniam.
He said convincing residents of the necessity to segregate their rubbish was difficult, adding that the problem was compounded by the lack of engagement from government agencies.
Maniam, who holds the treasurer post at Tong Soon Mansion, suggested that the authorities introduce a reward system to encourage residents to recycle, whereby those who brought in their recyclable items would receive vouchers or coupons.
When SWCorp enforces punitive action under Act 672 for mandatory waste separation at source, JMBs can be slapped with a RM100 fine for the first offence, RM200 (second offence) and RM500 (third offence).
As for landed properties, Sharudin said 84 households in Kuala Lumpur that failed to separate their rubbish since June 1 when the ruling was enforced, would be issued compounds soon.
He said that so far, only landed properties that did not separate their rubbish at source would be compounded.
Those who do not segregate their waste at source can be fined up to a maximum of RM1,000.
Subsequent offences will see offenders being hauled to court for failure to ensure that waste is separated at source.