KUALA LUMPUR: Though they are baby steps, it is still good news for the environment.
There has been an increase in the collection of recycled goods in 2020 compared to the previous year, says Solid Waste Management and Public Cleansing Corporation (SWCorp).
The organisation even achieved the target of a 30% recycling rate this year in seven states under its supervision, its director (research and technology division) Zulkifli Tamby Chik said.
“Based on our data, there has been a significant increase in recycling collection in 2020 compared with 2019.
“For example, the total collection of recycled items in May this year was 307.63 tonnes compared to 163.15 tonnes during the corresponding month last year, ” he told Bernama.
Zulkifli said the positive trend was also significant during the movement control order (MCO) period, attributing it to better awareness among the public.
“Despite the closure of other services (such as recycling centres) during the movement control order (MCO) period, there has been an increase in the items for recycling, and the driving force for the increase is the public’s role, ” he said.
He added that solid waste generation reduced by 40% before the MCO period to 343,061 tonnes after the period.
“During the conditional MCO period, the solid waste generation dropped to 209,207 tonnes and during the recovery MCO, it further dropped to 166,058 tonnes (as of June 30), ” he said.
Zulkifli also attributed the drop to the closure of the commercial and industrial sectors since the MCO was enforced.
As such, he said, SWCorp was now increasing its target recycling rate in the seven states under its supervision to 40% by 2025.
Asked whether SWCorp expected the amount of solid waste generation to drop after the recovery MCO, Zulkifli said that would depend on the public’s attitude in maintaining positive practices.
“The government spends almost RM1.9bil a year to collect, manage and clean solid waste.
“If the positive trend (reduction of solid waste generation) is maintained, it can also save the country’s expenses, as well as contribute to environmental sustainability, ” he added.
Meanwhile, Zulkifli said SWCorp would also enhance the use of solid waste management technology and public cleansing to ensure high-quality service and cost-effective management.
“We cannot rely on landfills because there are already too many saturated landfills in Malaysia.
“So we need to have a strategy and a comprehensive action plan by having facilities to convert solid waste to energy, as well as treatment of building waste and food waste, ” he said.
He added that there were currently four landfills with mini incinerators, namely Pulau Langkawi, Pulau Pangkor, Cameron Highlands and Pulau Tioman.
“The corporation also intends to explore development in the field of food waste treatment using the anaerobic digester technology as it is the largest composition of solid waste in Malaysia, at 44.5%, ” he noted.
SWCorp is responsible for regulating solid waste management and public cleansing in the seven states that adopt the Solid Waste Management and Public Cleansing Act 2007 (Act 672).
The states are Kedah, Perlis, Kuala Lumpur, Pahang, Negri Sembilan, Melaka and Johor.
It also regulates the disposal of solid waste at the Tertak Batu landfill in Terengganu.