PETALING JAYA: No action can be taken against the low-cost, low-technology handling of e-waste because it is not against the law despite
its potential health and environmental hazards, says an environment waste management specialist. Dr Theng Lee Chong, who is also deputy chairman of the Association of Environmental Consultant and Companies of Malaysia, said there was no regulation to control household e-waste, which usually ends up in the so-called informal sector.
“This means that at the moment, there is no regulation that stops you from selling or giving your scrapped television to a scrap collector or even a charity organisation.
“That’s why a new mechanism is needed to put all these things in order and have proper controls. Then, only the enforcement will have the mandate to ensure that all e-waste is only sold to authorised collectors and is recycled at licensed facilities,” said Theng.
He said existing licensed facilities, known as Full Recovery Facilities, in Malaysia received more industrial e-waste than household e-waste.
“They receive microchips, capacitors and other parts from the electronics and electrical industries instead of washing machines, TVs, refrigerators and other items from households,” he said.
He added that many of these facilities were designed to handle industrial e-waste only and could not properly recycle most household items.
“Not all household e-waste is economically viable to be recycled, such as washing machine and refrigerators. These have ‘negative value’ in terms of recycling.
“The small players in the informal sector mostly dismantle household e-waste for the plastics and metals (iron and copper). They can’t recover precious metals like gold and silver in such waste,” he said.
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