Send ewaste to the right place

Low (right, squatting) arranging the ewaste items collected during the campaign at the Ipoh Barat MCA service centre.

IPOH Barat MCA has embarked on an electronic and electrical waste (ewaste) awareness campaign.

Held in cooperation with a licensed ewaste recovery and recycling company Edsha Solutions Sdn Bhd, the campaign kicked off at the service centre in Ipoh.

Ipoh Barat MCA coordinator Low Guo Nan said the ewaste collection programme had been in place for the last five years in Perak.

However, he said people still lacked awareness and discarded ewaste indiscriminately.

“It is no surprise seeing old refrigerators, television sets, microwave ovens and kettles among other electrical items discarded at illegal dumpsites.

“People do not know where to dispose of such items and the easiest way is to throw them on the roadside,” said Low.

“We want to play our part by educating the public on the importance of ensuring that these items are sent to the right place for proper disposal,” he said at the launch of the campaign.

Also present was Perak MCA veteran Datuk Yik Phooi Hong.

Low said he would be having similar campaigns at different locations at least once a month.

He urged people with such items to look out for the announcements on the roadshows.

“Almost every household has unused electrical items in their homes.

“With latest models of gadgets such as handphones and laptops coming out every few months, many people tend to upgrade such devices. So the old ones end up in the bin,” he added.

Yik said people always talked about rare earth elements, but they did not understand that by disposing of such ewaste improperly, the substance leaked into the ground and water sources such as rivers.

“So humans who consume water and seafood are being poisoned slowly.

“The awareness about safe disposal of such items should be of utmost importance.

“It will be a good idea if Ipoh Barat MCA could place bins at the site, for people to dispose of ewaste conveniently,” he said, adding that it was difficult to find such bins anymore around the city centre.

Edsha Solutions managing director Edward Ponniah said many people lacked awareness on the hazardous substance found in electrical and electronic items.

If they are not disposed of properly, he said, it could have damaging consequences to the environment when the toxic materials are released.

Components such as mercury, lead, barium and lithium could have negative effects both on humans and the environment, he added.

“Usually, scrap metal dealers will collect such items and take what is valuable to them but the hazardous items are not disposed of properly,” said Edward.

“Thus the Perak DOE (Environ-ment Department) is working with three licensed contractors, one being my company, to ensure smooth collection process for ewaste.

“We have the proper equipment, manpower and a lab to segregate the components of the items sent to us.”

He said the companies also worked with local councillors on the ewaste programmes.

Edward said his company and other private companies collected only 20,000 tonnes of ewaste in 2018.

“The following year, we collected about 30,000 tonnes.

“Last year alone, we collected 314,000 tonnes after collaborating with local councils.

“The target this year is 400,000 tonnes. So far, we have collected 180,000 tonnes of such materials,” he added.

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