Green effort gone to waste?

Once in a blue moon: A resident walking past a recycling bin that rarely sees recyclables. It has instead turned into a rubbish bin in Kuala Lumpur. — YAP CHEE HONG/The Star

PETALING JAYA: Environmental groups want the relevant authorities to explain what has happened to the enforcement of the mandatory separation of waste at source policy.

Johor Green Earth Society president P. Sivakumar expressed concern over the development, saying that there are many who are still in the dark while the authorities do not follow through on the policy.

“Initially, there was some positive response but now the people no longer follow it.

“The government must come up with stringent measures or a cohesive plan to ensure that the public adhere to the ruling, ” he said.

Since Sept 1,2015, the government has made it mandatory to separate solid waste at source.

The ruling was to be implemented in stages.

The implementation is pursuant to regulations under Solid Waste and Public Cleansing Management Act 2007 (Act 672) enforced in Johor, Melaka, Negri Sembilan, Pahang, Kedah and Perlis, and the Federal Territories of Kuala Lumpur and Putrajaya.

Environment and waste management specialist Dr Theng Lee Chong said more needs to be done to raise public awareness on the matter, as well as on the issue of recycling waste.

He said the public still lack confidence regarding the money generated from the collection and how recyclable items would be managed.

“Currently, we have many possible channels for recycling such as selling to recycling centres or roadside buyers, putting into the recycling boxes, donating to charity or contributing to Rukun Tetangga or schools campaigns.

“There is lack of confidence given by the authorities on why recyclable items should be given away.

“When the segregation started to be enforced several years ago, Solid Waste And Public Cleansing Management Corporation wanted to take action against those who didn’t segregate their waste.

“However, there has not been much news since then, ” he said.

Theng said failure in segregation at source to give the recyclable items to the authorities does not mean recycling efforts are low.

“It could be that efforts are being carried out under different initiatives, ” he said, adding that states not following Act 672 were supposed to have their own segregation at source policy but so far, only Penang has come up with its own plans.

Association for the Protection of the Natural Heritage of Malaysia president Puan Sri Shariffa Sabrina Syed Akil said although there is infrastructure available for such purposes, all parties should play a role to address the issue.

Consumers’ Association of Penang president Mohideen Abdul Kader said public support for these initiatives has been low.

“This is disappointing as many residential areas are not practising this, including in Penang.

“We need concerted efforts among all parties, including NGOs, to ensure the policy can be successfully implemented, ” he said.

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