First Sarawakian international waste manager

Soon (left) with KUB Berjaya Energy Sdn Bhd managing director Chock Eng Tah and general manger Peter Wong at one of the conferences last year.

Soon at one of the plants in Peninsular Malaysia.

KUCHING: Local-born Soon Hun Yang, 40, is the first Sarawakian to be a certified international waste manager.

International Solid Waste Association (Iswa) presented the certificate to Soon who is CEO of Eco-ideal Consulting Sdn Bhd some time this year.

In 2005, Iswa launched its certification on professional qualifications. The certification programme is designed to provide an internationally recognised certification for individual professional waste managers based on their academic achievements and practical work experience.

This certification is awarded at four levels: International, Advanced, Intermediate and Technical.

To be Iswa certified, an applicant must make sure he or she meet the entry criteria, be an Iswa member, submit the application, and attend an online professional interview.

On what the international recognition means to him, Soon said: “The qualification motivates me to contribute immensely to the state and country.

“The recognition is similar to those for professions like engineers and surveyors. The certification means you are qualified. I am hoping to get more people interested in waste management as at the moment people do not know much about it, especially that they can value-add to waste.”

As far as Sarawak is concerned, it’s important to have qualified people to control the environment and innovate waste management, he added when met here quite recently.

Soon mulls the idea of introducing an Eco Ideal Centre in each major residential area in Sarawak. Such a centre would house a converter of food waste energy, a green kiosk, educational centre, a 3R-drop off zone and an organics hydroponic farm.

He talks about food waste management and how food waste produced daily can generate income. Food waste may not be of economic value but can be converted to other products of value.

“Food waste is a major part of our municipal waste and currently it goes to the disposal site, causing various environmental problems. Innovative approach to utilise this waste can be explored for sustainable waste management,” he pointed out.

Soon who is based in Peninsular Malaysia said food waste could be converted into biogas that generate electricity, enzymes to counter foul smells in drains, and liquid fertilisers to nourish organic vegetables and fruits.

“People should plant and get food within their neighbourhood and not to be overly dependent on wet and dry markets.

“Food waste can be obtained from any market and convert into revenue and income. As it may be too expensive to buy a giant generator, each residential area should get one for residents to share to be self-sustaining in food production,” he said, adding that it would be difficult to trust foreigners for quality food.

Soon is consultant to CHG Green Technology Sdn Bhd, the food waste to resource project operator for Petaling Jaya City Council.

When contacted by email, CHG CEO Ang Lee Law said: “Our project at SS2 is part of an Urban Living Lab initiative by Petaling Jaya City Council in addressing waste problem as well as achieving low carbon development.

“We are using the close-loop concept whereby food waste is returned to nature as fertilisers. Food waste can be transformed into valuable resources and

I wish all councils would embark on such effort. We hope this decentralised waste concept is able to conform to the current trend of Circular Economy which reduces waste.”

Soon was also consultant to the waste landfill gas recovery and power generation project at Bukit Tagar Sanitary Landfill for Kuala Lumpur waste. It won an award at the Asean Renewable Energy Award 2016.

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