Thursday, November 5, 2009

Waste Collection and Disposal

The Ministry of Housing and Local Government states that the total volume of waste generated in the country for 2005 was 19,100 tons a day and is expected to increase to 30,000 by 2020. Presently, the local authorities spend 50% to 100% of their revenues in waste management and cleaning. This is one of the reasons that the local authorities in the country are not able to provide the level of service expected by the public as more than half and in some cases, the entire revenue is spent on the disposal of waste.

The Ministry states that it is still using the old technology of ‘tipping’ and ‘burning’ and dumping the waste in landfills. There are a total of 178 landfills in the country. The Government plans to build another 9 and to upgrade 42 other landfills. The Government has built 5 incinerators, none of which are presently operating. It proposes to build another 5 mini incinerators in Labuan, Langkawi, Pangkor, Tioman and Cameron Highlands.

The total fees for waste disposal is RM1.7 billion per year of which RM1 billion is under the current Federal budget and RM700 million by the local authorities. It is estimated that the proposed Federal privatization of waste disposal would be RM3.8 billion a year. This is based on the present ‘tipping’ and ‘burning’ technology. This cost does not include the construction, maintenance and closure of each of the landfills and the environmental and ecological damage arising from the landfill such as the danger or pollution to the water resources and the emission of greenhouse gas.

The Ministry has stated that there are alternative technologies such as, material recovery facilities (MRF) and refuse derive fuel process (RDF). I call on the Ministry to review the present system which is environmental unfriendly and costly and to consider using the available alternative technologies. In Semenyih, the Selangor Government has started to operate an RDF plant and in the first year of operation, it has saved the Kajang Local Authority, RM16 million and RM20 million in the second year.

There is no reason for the Federal Government to take over the management of waste disposal and cleaning from the local authorities and the State Governments only to pay RM3.8 billion using outdated technologies where cheaper and more efficient technologies are available and which can be operated by the local authorities and the State.

William Leong Jee Keen

Member of Parliament Selayang

Thu, 5 November 2009

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