Keeping rubbish ‘in-house’

Built for waste: The bin station in Jalan Rejang, Kuala Lumpur is neat and clean. — ART CHEN/The Star

Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) has introduced a new method to curb the indiscriminate dumping of domestic waste in commercial areas, especially in markets and eateries.

Residents and traders are now required to dispose of domestic waste at designated bin stations that resemble mini rubbish houses.

“Although it looks like a rumah sampah (rubbish house), it is much smaller and only meant for domestic waste,” said DBKL Socio-economic Development executive director Anwar Mohd Zain.

“Placing the bins in one structure makes the place look neater as the rubbish is contained in a centralised location.”

He said waste bin stations were only for high-traffic commercial areas experiencing waste disposal problems.

“These are also areas where Alam Flora faces great difficulty in collecting waste.

“Door-to-door accessibility is impossible in some areas because the roads are too narrow and there is limited room for the trucks to manoeuvre, so residents must throw their waste at the bin point,” he explained.

Some areas fall under the “free trade area” initiative. These are areas with roadside traders and they contribute to an increase in waste, resulting in unsightly overflowing rubbish bins.

An example is the Jalan Rejang commercial area where the D’Rejang morning market is located.

This area is congested with residential houses and stalls that are located close to one another.

“We received many complaints, from both residents and traders, regarding bins overflowing with food waste,” said Anwar.

“The mess attracts flies and eventually, there is a foul stench.

“The mayor was particularly concerned about this, so we instructed our health department to form a team to help resolve this issue,” he added.

After several meetings with Alam Flora, the DBKL Health and Environment Department team came up with the idea of building small rubbish houses of varying sizes.

A bigger rubbish house has five units of the 660L type mobile rubbish bin while a smaller one has three units.

“Now, the rubbish bins are no longer exposed to the elements as they are placed inside a rubbish house or bin point station and the structure’s visibility makes it easier for people to find them and dispose of their rubbish,” Anwar pointed out.He said the bin points would be located near the relevant areas to make it easy for the community to access.

There are now five bin point locations in Kuala Lumpur — Jalan Rejang, Jalan Sultan, Jalan Melaka, Medan Bonus and Jalan Hang Lekiu.

Rubbish collection will be carried out by Alam Flora’s appointed contractor for the area twice a day, from 8.30am to 4.30pm seven days a week.

The project, which was initiated in September, has received positive response.

City Hall is currently identifying five more locations to set up additional bin points.

In fact, DBKL Health and Environment Department senior deputy director Norhayati Mat Said said the task force was in the midst of narrowing down the hotspots that would benefit from such rubbish points.

“We are talking to Alam Flora and residents associations about this and hope to establish such a system in more areas.

“It is important that we get the stakeholders’ support, in the areas concerned, if we want this to work,” she added.

Each bin point, costing about RM5,000 to RM8,000, has a lifespan of five years and is made from recyclable materials.

“This is a lot cheaper than building a concrete rubbish house, which can easily come up to RM50,000,” said Anwar, adding that the units could be easily dismantled and relocated elsewhere if necessary.

According to data from Solid Waste Management and Public Cleansing Corporation, 40% of the 2,400 tonnes of waste in Kuala Lumpur that end up at landfills daily is food waste.

“DBKL spends a whopping RM260mil a year on waste management, which includes costs to transport rubbish to the waste transfer station and tipping fees at the landfill.

“Ideally we would like to see a reduction in the amount of waste ending up in landfills, so we hope the community will think about recycling and cutting down on food waste so that there is less rubbish,” Anwar added.

Meanwhile, residents from Jalan Rejang, who spoke to StarMetro about the bin point locations, are generally receptive to the idea.

Resident Noraini Ismail, whose house faces the rubbish point, could not be happier with the new rubbish system.

“Before this, there were big piles of rotting waste in front of my house. It caused my family a lot of stress and anxiety.

“We were constantly worried about our health.

“It is much cleaner and hygienic now. I really appreciate DBKL’s efforts,” she said.

Noraini said many people, however, were still unclear about the type of waste that could be disposed of at the rubbish house and would dump recyclables there too.

“If I see them doing so, I will tell them that it is only for domestic waste and that recyclables go into the bin next to it,” she said, adding that everyone should play a part in keeping the neighbourhood clean.

“It is cleaner and neater now than what it used to be, when rubbish was strewn all over the place,” chimed in Rahmah Saad, also a resident.

“Sometimes, people do not know what the rubbish house is for, so I tell them it is for domestic waste,” said market trader Siti Kalsom.

“We must do our part to educate people, because collectively we want the same thing, which is a clean neighbourhood,” she added.

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