Solid and Waste Management

Waste implies unnecessary depletion of natural resources, unnecessary costs, and environmental damage. Sustainable waste management is about using resources more efficiently.

Issues & Problems

Litter at the roadside, drains clogged up with rubbish and rivers filled with filthy garbage definitely indicate that solid waste is a major environmental problem in Malaysia. Rapid development, population increase and changes in consumption pattern directly (and indirectly) resulted in the generation of enormous amount of waste, ranging from biodegradable to synthetic waste.

As of the year of 2008, 23,000 tones of waste is produced each day in Malaysia, with less than 5% of the waste is being recycled. In Selangor alone, waste generated in 1997 was over 3000t/day and the amount of waste is expected to rise up to 5700t/day in the year 2017(Yachio Engineering, 2000 cited in Muhd Noor Muhd Yunus, 2000). An alarming 19% of waste ends up in our drains, which then causes flash floods and drainage blockage. This situation has been and will be reducing our environmental capacity to sustain life.

Despite the massive amount and complexity of waste produced, the standards of waste management in Malaysia are still poor. These include outdated documentation of waste generation rates and its composition, inefficient storage and collection systems, disposal of municipal wastes with toxic and hazardous waste, indiscriminate disposal or dumping of wastes and inefficient utilization of disposal site space. Apart from a voluntary and unsystematic process of extracting a proportion of recyclable items from the main waste flow, all waste is simply disposed of in landfills. Nor is there a developed culture of waste minimization. Landfill capacity is severely limited and expansion of efficient, sanitary landfills, extremely problematic. Other difficulties relate to existing, short-term contractual arrangements; absence of support for recycling mechanisms at the community level; and limited land availability for transfer stations and landfill sites.

Furthermore, the lack of awareness and knowledge among Malaysian community about solid waste management (SWM) issues, and being ignorant about the effect that improper SWM has to us has definitely worsened the problem.

Types of waste:

Municipal waste (food, rubbish, ashes, construction waste, furniture)

Industrial waste (waste from factories)

Hazardous waste (waste that poses substantial danger such as flammable and explosive)

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