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By Karen Bong
KUCHING, Feb 26: Deputy Chief Minister Dato Sri Dr Sim Kui Hian has urged Sarawakians to put a stop to littering and illegal dumpings in the State, saying that he doesn’t want Sarawakians to be perceived as “wealthy but with a jungle mentality”.
He emphasised that local councils such as the Padawan Municipal Council (MPP) spend RM9 million out of their RM47 million annual budget on waste management, including upkeeping cleanliness and waste removal.
“But people do not realise that more money is spent on getting rid of waste. The government has been spending tens of millions to create landfills and cover them up when filled.
“As such, we need the public to change their mindset for the environment by not simply throwing away their rubbish and waste at their convenience.
“They should also adopt the 6R concept of rationalising, reducing, redesigning, reusing, repairing, and recycling in their daily lives,” he said when launching a recycle centre at Taman Desa Wira in Batu Kawah here today.
With 25,000 households in Batu Kawah alone, he added that the revenue collected from assessment rates was not enough to run the management and pay the electricity of public facilities.
If every citizen plays their part and together with the responsibility of the local councils, Dr Sim, who is also Minister of Public Health, Housing, and Local Government, said that the people could help keep every nook and cranny of Sarawak clean and tidy.
“As Sarawak becomes prosperous and advanced, we also have to keep up with the international standard. So we don’t want people to throw things everywhere, indicating that we have no class.
“People will laugh at us. We need to improve and be more civic-minded,” he urged.
He also encouraged people who witness illegal dumpings taking place to take a photo or video of the act and provide the necessary information for local councils to prosecute these irresponsible violators.
Dr Sim also disclosed that the Natural Resources and Environment Board (NREB) had completed the master plan on Sarawak’s solid waste management, which will be tabled to the Cabinet soon as part of the State government’s goal to improve environmental sustainability under the Post Covid-19 Development Strategies 2030.
He also shared that the national recycling rate rose slightly to 31.52 per cent in 2021 from 30.7 per cent in 2020, with Malaysia hoping to increase the rate to 40 per cent by 2025.
On the Desa Wira Recycle Centre, Dr Sim said the facility is provided for the community to dispose of their recyclable waste.
“Recycling has become an important economic activity to reduce the amount of waste sent to landfills and incinerators while conserving natural resources such as timber, water, and minerals as well as preventing pollution.
“I urge the public to fully utilise such recycling facilities provided by the government through the local councils.
“But please take care of the facility and do not vandalise it. Your money was used to build this, and if vandalised, it is your money used for repair. We want Sarawak to be the world-class standard by 2030,” he reminded.
MPP chairman Lo Khere Chiang, also Batu Kitang assemblyman, was among those present. ― DayakDaily