PETALING JAYA: The Housing and Local Government Ministry is looking into reducing the number of solid waste disposal sites in the country by replacing them with energy efficient and environmentally friendly methods to better manage disposal of waste materials.
Minister Zuraida Kamaruddin said there are plans to build sanitary landfills that are centralised and to shut down sites that are not sanitary.
There are also plans to construct solid waste treatment plants with the concept of waste-to-energy (WTE) in states that generate high amount of solid waste such as Negri Sembilan, Kuala Lumpur, Melaka and Johor.
“For now, the ministry has planned to reduce the number of disposal sites by building sanitary solid waste disposal sites and to close down sites that are not sanitary.
“However, the construction of such sites (sanitary landfills) would be done in stages in order to reduce the government’s cost impact,” said Zuraida in a statement to The Star.
While there are many types of landfills including industrial landfills and municipal solid waste landfills, a sanitary landfill involves well-designed engineering methods to protect the environment from contamination by solid or liquid wastes.
The move towards sanitary landfills is in line with the government’s vision to reduce the number of solid waste disposal sites in the country, which at present, stands at 150 nationwide, said Zuraida, who in June last year first announced that the government wants to phase out conventional landfills, which uses the method of disposal of waste materials by burial.
The government will also build solid waste treatment plants with WTE concept, including incinerator, anaerobic digester (AD) and biodigestion for states that produce a high amount of waste material, said Zuraida.
“This (building the plants) would reduce the amount of solid waste disposed at these sites.
“The reduction would extend the lifespan and reduce the number of waste disposal sites,” added Zuraida.
She said based on the study conducted, the ministry would need a high capital expenditure and operating expenditure if the facilities were to be built in every state.
“Due to that, the government plans to build these facilities in stages to lessen the burden and cost implication to the government.
“To ensure that the technology that will be used would be effective, cost efficient and environmentally friendly, the ministry via its National Solid Waste Management Technology Assessment Committee is also currently identifying several technologies that could be used to treat the solid waste in Malaysia,” said Zuraida.
Last year, four solid waste disposal sites in Kedah, Negri Sembilan, Kelantan and Terengganu ceased operations following the end of its lifespan.
Currently, another 150 solid waste disposal sites nationwide are still operating with 74 of these sites or 49% of them expected to reach the end of their lifespan by 2020, said Zuraida.
“In 2018, four solid waste disposal sites ceased operations, bringing the total number of landfills that are no longer in operation to 165 sites.
“They were closed down because it was feared that the sites would cause more serious environmental pollution and endanger the health of residents living nearby,” she said.
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