Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Abdul Rahman: Separation of waste would help change lifestyle of M’sians

As Malaysians in seven states begin separating their household waste, they should also start thinking about excessive consumption, the root cause of the country’s rising volume of garbage.

Urban Wellbeing, Housing and Local Government Minister Datuk Abdul Rahman Dahlan said he believed that separation of waste at the source would help change the lifestyle of Malaysians into becoming more environment friendly.

“We are set to become good citizens of the world as far as protecting the environment is concerned,” he said.

From today, households in the Federal Territory, Pahang, Johor, Malacca, Negri Sembilan, Perlis and Kedah – states which have adopted the Solid Waste and Public Cleansing Management Act 2007 (Act 672) – have to separate their wastes into categories such as plastic, paper, cardboard, glass, metal and food remains.

Abdul Rahman said this was also aimed at getting Malaysian to follow the footsteps of people in developed nation where recycling has become “a way of life”.

“Only between 10% and 11% of our waste is recycled. We aim to see the figure doubled to 22% within five years.

“To meet this, we need to change the people’s mindset. That’s why we are enforcing the Act, “ he added.

He said the routine of separating wastes would also encourage people to check their consumption habits.

“Failing to check consumption will not be productive for the country as the Government spends RM2bil a year on waste management.

“Even if we can cut the cost by half, the remaining amount could be channelled to other areas which could benefit the people,” he said.

He said the new rules could also lengthen the lifespan of landfills.

Average sized landfills can last between two and five years while larger areas, like the one in Bukit Tagar, Selangor, could last up to 60 years.

Abdul Rahman said the ministry had carried out various awareness campaigns, including distribution of pamphlets and flyers, print and electronic advertisements and also via social networks, such as Twitter.

He said between Aug 9 and 26, tweets bearing hashtags #asingkan and #keepitseparated received 16.7mil exposures, adding that the ministry also worked closely with non-governmental organisations focused on environmental protection.

“Today brings a new dawn for the country. I believe my fellow Malay­sians are ready for this change,” he added.

Those still trying to get the hang of separating their household wastes need not fear being compounded for not doing it right as they are given ample time and would not be penalised until June 1, 2016.

“We want to educate and create a high level of awareness on the importance of separating household waste and its benefits to the society and the environment first.

“Enforcement will come later. Education is the key,” said Abdul Rahman.

Between now and May 31 next year, those who do not dispose their waste correctly would only be advised and cautioned on how to do it right.

From June 1, owners of landed properties who fail to separate their household waste would be issued with a compound of RM50 for the first offence, RM100 for the second and RM500 for subsequent offences.

Those who do not pay their compounds would be taken to court and, if found guilty, could be fined up to RM1,000.

For those in strata buildings, action would be taken against the joint management body with RM100 compound for the first offence, RM200 for the second and RM500 for subsequent offences.

The management body could also be charged in court action for not settling compounds and could be fined up to RM1,000 if found guilty.

No comments: