KUCHING (Jan 19): The volume of waste collected by the councils is increasing every year, said Deputy Premier Dato Sri Dr Sim Kui Hian.
He noted that on average the councils collect approximately 718,456 tons of municipal waste annually, which end up in landfills.
“As you all know, Sarawak councils need to spend a portion of their revenue to manage solid waste, which includes landfill maintenance.
“Based on the data provided by the councils in 2019 until 2020, more than 30 per cent of the councils’ revenue was spent for that purpose.
“This means, if no efforts are being made to recoup recyclable materials, solid waste management will slowly eat up the councils’ financial resources in the long run,” he said.
He was speaking at the Prize Giving Ceremony for the School Recycling Campaign 2022, Kuching and Samarahan zones, attended by about 200 primary and secondary school students, which was jointly organised by the Ministry of Public Health, Housing and Local Government (MPHLG), Fraser & Neave Holdings Bhd (F&NHB), Department of Education Sarawak (JPNS), Tetra Pak (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd, Kuching North City Commission (DBKU), Kuching South City Council (MBKS), Padawan Municipal Council (MPP), Kota Samarahan Municipal Council (MPKS), Sibu Municipal Council (SMC), Sibu Rural District Council (SRDC) and Sarikei District Council at the Borneo Cultures Museum auditorium here yesterday.
On Jan 11 this year, the event was held physically in Sibu and Sarikei zones, officiated by MPLGH Deputy Minister Michael Tiang.
A total of 111 schools and 72,002 students (69 schools from Kuching and Samarahan zones and 42 schools from Sibu and Sarikei zones) collected 330,719 kg (219,375 kg from Kuching and Samarahan zones and 111,344 kg from Sibu and Sarikei zones) of recyclable items over a period of six months of the whole programme, starting May 1, 2022 and ending Oct 18, 2022.
“All your contributions are very important in safeguarding sustainable environment for all of us. I believe this effort will make the practices of 3R (Reduce, Reuse and Recycle) a daily norm to all participants.
“I also hope that we will have more schools and councils involved in this 3R programme this year,” he said.
He said 3R practices can also help in the reduction of Greenhouse Gas Generation (GHG) produced in landfills, which is one of the causes of climate change.
“This philosophy is in line with one of the three main pillars under the Post-Covid Development Strategy 2030 (PCDS 2030), which is Environmental Sustainability.
“It is to ensure a clean and healthy environment for current and future generations, as well as supporting Malaysia’s commitment to reduce GHG emissions intensity by 2030,” he said.
Meanwhile, MPHLG will continue to work with the councils to improve solid waste management through reducing the amount of solid waste being sent to landfills and to achieve SDGs (Sustainable Development) Goals 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities under the SDGs.
“This is also part of the initiative by the ministry to support Sarawak Sustainable Blueprint as announced by the Sarawak Premier during the Malaysian Conservation Conference in March 2022,” Dr Sim pointed out.
He went on to say that converting waste to wealth can be done in many ways, citing composting as one of the good examples of turning food wastes to health.
“Besides that, local councils like MBKS and SMC, they offer an avenue for the public to dispose of recyclable waste.
“A sustained and continuous public awareness campaign is being carried out to draw public attention to their equal responsibility in safeguarding the environment.
“For electronic wastes (e-waste), we encourage the community to send them to the local councils during e-wastes programme or they can send directly to the vendors. Managing e-waste is very crucial as electronic items contain hazardous and toxic substances,” he said.
Also present at the event were MPP chairman Lo Khere Chiang; MBKS mayor Dato Wee Hong Seng; JPNS assistant director for the Talent Development unit, Mohamad Murtaza Fatemi Morshidi; F&NHB capital manager Felicia Liew; and MPHLG permanent secretary Datu Antonio Kahti Galis.