Tuesday, December 7

Waste management weighs heavily on council shoulders

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REDUCING WASTE: Based on a rough estimate, about 20 per cent of solid waste entering the landfill is plastics, which can be recycled.

SIBU: Sibu Municipal Council (SMC) spends millions of ringgit annually on scavenging service and up-keeping its dumping grounds.

Its deputy chairman Daniel Ngieng said he expected the expenses to increase in tandem with the population growth.

Stressing the need to prolong the lifespan of landfills, he encouraged people to participate in recycling based on the 3Rs (reduce, reuse, recycle).

“The council has to fork out between RM3 million and RM4 million annually for operating landfills and scavenging service (refuse collection).

“The costly landfill operations include, among others, waste treatment. The high transportation cost is also giving us a headache as Kemuyang landfill is located far away from here. We anticipate the cost to climb in future, given the population growth and the need to carry out spring cleaning during Lunar New Year and other festivities.

“On top of that, the work duplication involved in tackling illegal dumping is additional cost to us. Then, there is also maintenance cost for Seng Ling dumpsite to cater for bulk waste (inorganic),” Ngieng told The Borneo Post yesterday.

He moaned that this (cost) had yet to take into account other expenses such as building of new cell and building infrastructure.

Landfills, he explained, had a lifespan of 10 years.

Ngieng said refuse collection was divided into four zones, and the service rendered thrice a week for households.

For markets, refuse is collected thrice a day. It’s twice daily for commercial areas.

Ngieng said SMC was trying its best to reduce the high cost of waste management and to channel all the savings generated to other areas which could benefit the people.

He revealed that lately they were into waste segregation, where recyclable items such as tins, papers and receptacles were separated from the rest.

“Based on a rough estimate, 20 per cent of the solid wastes entering the landfills are plastics, and these can be reduced,” he said.

He encouraged shoppers to cut down on the use of plastic bags.

“Some businesses such as newspaper vendors are promoting ‘no plastic bag’ daily, and not confined to Mondays and Saturdays,” he enthused, saying more businesses were coming out to exercise their corporate social responsibility (CSR) in helping to green the environment.

Ngieng stressed that it was most important that some kind of efforts be initiated at the local front to alleviate global warming.

“Think global and act local. Actions must speak louder than words as slogans without actions remain merely slogans,” he reminded.