Time to change our mindset and embrace recycling

PETALING JAYA : Former SWCorp deputy chief executive officer (technical) Dr Mohd Pauze Mohamad Taha said providing more recycling facilities would encourage Malaysians to separate their waste at home.

He pointed to the example in Putrajaya, which has among the highest recyclable waste in the country.

“Perbadanan Putrajaya (PPj) has an initiative where they allocate special bins for recyclables in housing areas.

“The statistic that we gathered before shows that the amount of recyclable waste collected in Putrajaya, which has about 100,000 people, is way higher even if we compare it to Kuala Lumpur that has almost a million residents.

“Placing these bins may have encouraged people to separate their waste because they no longer have to keep their recyclable at home while waiting for the garbage truck (that collects recyclable) that comes once a week,” he said.

Despite the Putrajaya high mark, Mohd Pauze, who was the SWCorp deputy CEO between 2016 and 2020, lamented that generally the practice of segregating waste in Malaysia is still unsatisfactory despite countless campaigns and programmes.

Meanwhile, Environment and Waste Management specialist Dr Theng Lee Chong said it is time for Malaysia to enforce compulsory waste segregation on businesses so that the culture of waste management could flow to households too.

Malaysians, he added, are mostly aware of the importance of waste segregation but they are not picking up the responsibility.

Theng said Malaysia needs the “stick approach” to help them change their behaviour.

“Japan started waste segregation in 1973. We are 49 years late. Our mindset needs to change not only on recycling but overall to develop as a nation.

“There are a lot of hazardous materials from house waste such as pesticides and chemical cans that should not end up in landfills as they can contaminate our environment. Many fail to understand this,” he said.

Theng added that the discourse among Malaysians concerning waste segregation still revolves around monetary compensation from recycling and not the long-term harm and waste issues that impact the environment.

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