Tuesday, September 29

Environmental engineering students visit sanitary landfill

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The students with Tay and Prasath (front – third and fourth left, respectively) during the visit to Bukit Tagar Sanitary Landfill.

MIRI: Eleven second-year Environmental Engineering (EnEn) students of Curtin University Malaysia visited the Bukit Tagar Sanitary Landfill (BTSL) in Hulu Selangor recently to learn more about Malaysia’s premier sanitary landfill.

The site visit was part of the ‘EnEn 2001 Solid and Hazardous Waste Management Unit’ of Curtin Malaysia’s Bachelor of Engineering programme. The students were accompanied by civil and construction engineering lecturer Dr Tay Ai Chen.

According to Tay, the visit gave the students valuable insights into how a sanitary landfill functions as a safe, eco-friendly solid waste management solution, as well as the technologies and methods used in handling waste and generating renewable energy.

On hand to welcome the group was BTSL manager Prasath Ramakrishnan and his staff.

Operated by KUB-Berjaya Enviro Sdn Bhd, BSTL was developed to provide a long-term solid waste management system for Kuala Lumpur and Selangor. It is a fully-engineered facility employing modern technology and international best practices, setting the benchmark for solid waste management in the country.

Prasath gave a detailed presentation on the landfill including its design and capacity, waste management processes, environmental monitoring and renewable energy production from methane gas – a by-product of waste decomposition. He also spoke about the awards and recognition the company had garnered for its environment-friendly projects.

For student Chang Teng Wen, the site visit was a great opportunity to get a better picture of how municipal solid waste is converted to renewable energy using advanced technology.

“I hope that there would be an opportunity for me to work at BTSL in the future, to help conserve the environment in Malaysia and make it a better place to live in,” he remarked.

Meanwhile fellow student Yeow Peck Kah commented that the visit helped the students connect much of what they had learned with real industrial practices. It also gave them fresh perspectives on waste generation and the need to manage waste effectively.

Tay said the knowledge gained from the visit was very relevant to the course’s ‘Solid and Hazardous Waste Management Unit’.

“They now clearly understand how sanitary landfills operate, including the very useful function of generating waste by-products, such as methane, into green energy. As a result, they will be able to implement such knowledge and consider strategies to protect the environment in their future careers,” she said.

Tay added that courses at Curtin Malaysia are very industry-focused and site visits to various industries are integral components of the courses.

Curtin Malaysia provides a four-year Bachelor of Engineering in Environmental Engineering (Hons) programme, which was developed at the Malaysian campus and introduced in 2015.

According to the campus’ ‘EnEn’ programme coordinator Dr John Lau Sie Yon, due to the breadth and depth of the curriculum, students are equipped with complex engineering problem-solving skills and a highly practical and innovative engineering experience. Consequently, graduates of the course also enjoy career opportunities in a wide range of economic sectors.