ASIDE from incinerators, landfills will remain a major waste disposal option. Currently, only eight of the 176 landfills in the country are of the sanitary class, featuring antipollution measures.
Three are in Selangor (Jeram, Bukit Tagar and Tanjung 12), three in Sarawak (Mambong in Padawan, Sibuti in Miri and Kemunyang in Sibu), one in Pahang (Jabor Jerangau landfill in Kuantan) and one in Johor (Seelong landfill in Kulai).
To ensure proper waste disposal, 11 new sanitary landfills will be built all over the country: Rimba Mas in Perlis; Lahat and Teluk Mengkudu in Perak; Ladang Tanah Merah in Negeri Sembilan; Sungai Udang in Malacca; Belenggu and Bukit Jemalang in Pahang; Kampung Teratak Batu in Pahang, and Pagoh, Bukit Payong and Pekan Nenas, all in Johor.
Environmental impact studies are being done for them, and these facilities are targeted to be up and running by 2012. These landfills will be government-owned, but their construction and operation will be open to tender.
Department of National Solid Waste Management directorgeneral Datuk Dr Nadzri Yahaya says these landfills will follow a new, planned concept. Instead of merely being a place for dumping waste, they will comprise integrated facilities for waste segregation and recovery of useful resources. At the tipping platform, recyclables such as metals, plastics and glass will be fished out first.
Concrete and demolition waste will go to a separate area for crushing, for reuse either as soil cover for the landfill or to make new building materials. Garden waste will go to another area for composting.
All these waste recovery will prevent landfills from filling up too fast, thus lengthening their lifespans. And of course, these sanitary landfills will have all the anti-pollution features characteristic of a proper and safe dumping site, such as linings to prevent leachate seepage into the ground, gas collection to generate power and leachate treatment systems.
To aid the department in enforcing rules on waste management, eight regulations are being drafted under the Solid Waste Management and Public Cleansing Act 2007. Among other things, these cover the licensing of operators and waste transporters, as well as landfill design and operations.
Right now, efforts to better handle waste collection and disposal are hampered by the absence of these supporting regulations, without which the Act could not be enforced although it was passed by Parliament three years ago.
The department is also finalising the draft of agreements with three waste concessionaires which had previously been given rights to collect, transport and dispose of waste: Alam Flora, Southern Waste Management and E-Idaman. Under new deals, waste management will not be confined to the three firms.
All these plans will spell proper and better handling of all our discards – so long as they are implemented soon and not delayed.