By AFIQ AZIZ / Pic By MUHD AMIN NAHARUL
THE government plans to develop a new waste-to-energy (WTE) incinerator in the country’s southern region, particularly in Negri Sembilan, Melaka and Johor.
Housing and Local Government (KPKT) Deputy Minister Datuk Raja Kamarul Bahrin Shah Raja Ahmad Shah said the ministry is currently conducting a feasibility study that would make way for the pilot WTE plant project.
He said the project is part of the effort to do away with solid waste disposal sites, as well as curbing more waste dump at the landfill area.
At present, KPKT is authorised to manage waste in Perlis, Kedah, Kuala Lumpur, Putrajaya, Pahang, Melaka, Johor and Negri Sembilan, mainly for public cleansing and solid waste disposal.
“We are concentrating on Melaka, Johor and Negri Sembilan first, as not every state has signed agreement with us to manage their waste disposal.
“So, we are gradually trying to get the other states to be interested and to comply to this requirement,” he told the press at the International Solid Waste Association (ISWA) World Congress 2018 launch.
WTE is a process where energy — electricity or heat — is generated from the primary treatment of waste, or the processing of waste into a fuel source.
Raja Kamarul Bahrin Shah said with a population of over 32 million, the country generates about 38,000 metric tonnes of waste daily.
“Out of the huge amount, waste separation and recycle rate is only at 24%, while the remaining 76% goes to the landfill,” he said.
He added that the government aims to increase the waste separation and recycle rate of up to 30% by 2020, with RM1.5 billion annual budgets allocated for the purpose.
Raja Kamarul Bahrain Shah said there are currently 148 landfills in the country, 18 of which are equipped with sanitary facilities — a system where waste is isolated from the environment until it is safe and completely degraded biologically, chemically and physically.
The ISWA World Congress was also attended by KPKT secretary general Datuk Seri Mohammad Mantek, National Solid Waste Management Department DG Ismail Mokhtar, Sao Paulo Mayor of Nova Odessa Benjamin Bill Veira de Souza, ISWA president Antonist Mavropoulos and Waste Management Association of Malaysia president DL Ho.
Mohamed said all the pilot projects’ land sites were considered based on the suitability of the areas, as well as cooperation that was given by the state administrations.
“We might also work to upgrade the existing landfills to be WTE incinerators, depending on the area suitability. Some of them could be just next to the current landfills,” he said.
He added that the government would soon be ready to release its full target of how many incinerators would be developed.
He said the entire WTE incinerator is expected to be equipped with leachate treatment plant facilities.
In a news report last month, KPKT Minister Zuraida Kamaruddin revealed that a private firm in Negri Sembilan has started to build an incinerator, which is expected to be the first state to start a new solid waste disposal system by 2020.
The government has targeted to establish at least one WTE plant incinerator for each state within the next two years.
Meanwhile, Raja Kamarul Bahrain Shah said the government would continue to educate and raise public awareness on waste management while promoting a more comprehensive method of reuse, reduce and recycle approach.
He added that the government may impose more strict measures such as what has been implemented in Singapore in penalising the public over littering habits.