THE Government is set to implement a new rule in waste management starting this September, thus making it mandatory for every Malaysian household to separate their solid wastes accordingly before the collection or dumping process.
The new ruling should be seen by many as a positive step in creating a more efficient and effective waste management system in our country.
With the annual increase in waste generation and heavy reliance on landfilling as the disposal method in Malaysia, it is just a matter of time before problems involving space limitations, health, as well as environmental issues will hit our country severely.
The new rule is being implemented to allow for easier recycling by individuals and to reduce the amount of solid waste currently being sent to the overcrowded waste disposal sites in our country.
It is also being seen as another step to educate and create awareness among Malaysians to protect the environment.
According to the Urban Wellbeing, Housing and Local Government Ministry, this move will see many household solid wastes being “mandatorily” separated into several categories including plastic, paper, cardboard, glass, metal, food waste, lump waste and farm waste.
According to Section 74 of Act 672, the director-general may give written directions as he considers fit to any person for the purpose of ensuring compliance with this Act, on the separation, handling and storage of any controlled solid waste in the possession of such person.
Any person who fails to comply with the direction mentioned above commits an offence and shall, on conviction, be liable to a fine not exceeding “one thousand ringgit”.
Further, Section 108(2)(g) of the Act clearly provides that it shall be the duty of any person in the country to “separate recyclable solid waste”.
The collection of the separated waste will be implemented according to a schedule which will be determined by a concession company that will be appointed.
Sadly, the new ruling will only be enforced in states which adopted the Act in the first place, namely Kuala Lumpur, Putrajaya, Pahang, Johor, Malacca, Negri Sembilan, Perlis and Kedah.
As such, all the efforts taken to protect the environment and to create awareness among the society to go green may not achieve its final objective.
Solid Waste and Public Cleansing Management Act 2007 (Act 672) was first approved by the Malaysian Parliament on July 17, 2007, and gazetted on Aug 30, 2007, vesting executive power to the Federal Government to implement solid waste management and public cleansing.
Act 672 establishes concrete policies, plans and strategies of solid waste management and public cleansing in the country.
The Act also formulates a proper plan for solid waste management such as location, facility size, solid waste management scheme and duration of planning in the country as well as setting standards, specifications and codes of practice that are going to be adopted in dealing with solid waste in the country.
The Act came into force on Sept 1, 2011. Thus, it is crucial for those states which have yet to adopt the Act to do so as soon as possible.
The Solid Waste and Public Cleansing Management Act 2007 (Act 672), if applied and fully adopted by all states in the country, can further assist local authorities and state governments, together with the Federal government, to protect the country’s environment by having a proper and uniform waste management system that will eventually bring benefits to all.
DR MUZAFFAR SYAH MALLOW
Universiti Sains Islam Malaysia