THE government will phase out landfills as a waste-management method with studies underway to adopt more energy efficient and environmentally friendly methods, said Housing and Local Government Minister Zuraida Kamaruddin.
Zuraida said that the ministry is currently studying four methods – biomass waste management, waste-to-energy (WTE), incineration, and biodigestion – for their suitability for implementation based on location and type of waste.
“Phasing out landfills and replacing them with other more effective methods is the way forward and we want to do this as soon as possible.
“We are in the midst of reviewing all the existing waste-management systems that we have, including how much longer they can be used.
“If the land availability, location, timing, cost factors are aligned, we will start somewhere by carrying out trials under different local councils. I expect the studies to be completed by the end of the year, and if I have a complete report I will be able to identify where we can start the plan,” she told a press conference earlier this week.
Earlier, Zuraida had a meeting with Perak State Assembly Speaker Ngeh Koo Ham, State Local Government and Housing Committee Chairman Paul Yong, all 15 local councils presidents and guests at the State Secretariat in Ipoh.
Zuraida said that she aims to decentralise the country’s waste-management system, giving more responsibility in the matter to local councils.
“My mission is to have each local council running a biomass system on its own, while the volume of waste and the technology’s capacity is studied.
“We stand to gain economically from the reduced costs of occupying and cleaning up land, processing waste in landfills while reducing pollution and environmental problems.
“There won’t be a one-method-fits-all approach. We will see and decide based on each locality, the amount of the waste and capacity of each technology,” she added.
She also said that the ministry will channel allocations to Perak for its waste management, although the state did not sign the agreement to allow the Solid Waste Management and Public Cleansing Corporation to operate in the state.
Zuraida noted Malaysia still relies largely on landfills although Pulau Pangkor, Cameron Highlands, Langkawi and Pulau Tioman have incinerators in place. However, the use of the incinerators is not without problems.
“The incinerator in Pulau Pangkor proved to be a unsuitable and it is not in use due to the incompatibility of the incinerator and the waste it was being used to process.
“Malaysians produce a lot of oily food waste, so when the American-made incinerator was used, it broke down. So we have to find better ways.
“But through this experience, we will find a better system that is better able to deal with the type waste generated in Malaysia,” she added.