Sarawak mulls using 3Rs for waste management

Peter (second from left) presenting Abang Johari with a token of appreciation for officiating at the event. With them on stage are Len Talif (left) and Abdul Karim.

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By Geryl Ogilvy

KUCHING, Dec 13: Sarawak is considering adopting the 3Rs principle of Reduce, Reuse and Recycle in its waste management to ensure sustainable development.

A study is currently being carried out by local and foreign consultants from countries such as Denmark, United Kingdom and Italy to review current policies, legislation, institutions and regulations as well as capacities governing waste management generation and disposal management.

Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg said the state was advocating the 3Rs principle as it formed an essential component of an environmentally-responsible consumer behaviour.

“We want to inculcate the culture of reducing waste generation,” he said at the 8th Sarawak Chief Minister’s Environmental Award 2017/2018 here on Wednesday.

Assistant Minister for Urban Planning, Land Administration and Environment Datu Len Talif Salleh, Natural Resources and Environment Board (NREB) environmental quality controller Peter Sawal and Sarawak Business Federation (SBF) president Datuk Abang Abdul Karim Tun Openg were among those present.

Abang Johari told those present at the event, which was organised by NREB and SBF, that the state could emulate the practices of advanced countries like Canada, where their waste management went beyond 3Rs.

Waste reduction is the preferable option, wherever possible. If waste is produced, every effort should be made to reuse it, if practicable. Recycling is the third option in the waste management hierarchy, he opined.

“Although recycling does help to conserve resources and reduce wastes, it is important to remember that there are economic and environmental costs associated with waste collection and recycling.

“For this reason, recycling should only be considered for waste that cannot be reduced or reused,” he explained.

Abang Johari added that it might be possible to recover materials or energy from waste that could not be reduced, reused or recycled.

Meanwhile, Peter said the waste management study started last December and was expected to be completed in March next year.

The study, covering all 26 councils across the state, included waste segregation, waste composition and rubbish collection methods. The study also touched on uncollected rubbish and those that were disposed of illegally.

“The study is yet to be completed. We still need a lot of data and a simulation model to be carried out. Furthermore, our consultant request for some extension to come up with the model.

“They will come up with some recommendations on the policy and regulation framework as well as an integrated system that will be put in place,” he told reporters after the event.

Peter said the system would be one that is tailor-made for Sarawak, instead of adopting models used by other countries. This considering that some technologies might be too advanced and not suitable to be implemented in the state.

He added that a comprehensive study to come up with solid waste management, such as construction waste, is also being carried out as part of the research.

The technical committee, involving NREB, Ministry of Local Government and Housing, Ministry of Urban Development and Natural Resources and other agencies, want more data for the integrated system.

“Once the report is completed, a special working group will discuss the recommendations derived from the study,” Peter said. — DayakDaily