We are looking forward to implementing WTE-type of facilities in Malaysia as it is proven to treat solid waste effectively, says JPSPN
by NUR HANANI AZMAN/ pic by BERNAMA
THE Housing and Local Government Ministry (KPKT) plans to set up six waste-to-energy (WTE) plants towards 2025 with various technologies to be evaluated.
Among these technologies, the biogas plant and thermal treatment will be carried out in phases to ensure effectiveness and affordability.
KPKT’s Department of Solid Waste Management (JPSPN) said the ministry is still evaluating suitable technologies for Malaysian solid waste and the industry’s technical capability to efficiently treat solid waste without polluting the environment.
“We are looking forward to implementing WTE-type of facilities in Malaysia as it is proven to treat solid waste effectively.
“At the same time, it can generate electricity which can be sold to power providers for revenue to cover a big portion of the plant maintenance and operation costs,” JPSPN told The Malaysian Reserve (TMR) in an email reply.
Malaysia’s first WTE plant in Ladang Tanah Merah, Port Dickson, Negri Sembilan, which was scheduled to be fully operational this month is now delayed due to the nationwide movement restrictions.
Known as SMART (solid waste modular advanced recovery and treatment) WTE, the facility is designed to convert solid waste to energy (electricity) based on a sustainable and integrated waste management concept.
The project, developed by Cypark Resources Bhd, has a 4ha built-up area and will able to undertake 600 tonnes of mechanically segregated and processed municipal solid waste a day.
Cypark CEO Datuk Daud Ahmad said the group has yet to set a new target completion date even though they have resumed work.
“We are still firming up the many variables as we are still in the Recovery Movement Control Order, which means that business is still not fully back to normal,” he told TMR in a text reply.
The WTE plant’s construction is monitored by foreign experts who provide similar technology to Japan, Sweden and Germany. According to JPSPN, most of the generated solid wastes are disposed of directly to landfills, causing pollution and scarcity of land to build an ever-increasing demand for space for landfill construction.
Public opposition on landfill construction is also making it hard for the government to replace existing landfills that have reached their maximum capacity.
Therefore, to solve these issues, KPKT aims at reducing solid waste as much as possible to be disposed of directly to the landfills.
This is to prolong the lifespan of the landfills and better protect the environment.
“This mission can be achieved by promoting the 3R (Reduce, Reuse, Recycle) lifestyle and introducing new and proven technologies,” JPSPN added.
Malaysia is moving towards zero waste directed to landfills, from the dumpsite to the regional sanitary landfill as the benchmark for the country’s eco-friendly landfill.
However, for developing countries like Malaysia, waste generation will keep increasing in accordance with population growth.
Realising this, the National Recycling Rate was established in 2016 and Malaysia’s recycling rate has been tremendously increasing since then.
The National Recycling Rate in 2016 was 17.5%, 21% in 2017, 24.6% in 2018 and 28.06% last year.
JPSPN said in 2020, the National Recycling Rate to date is 30.67%, which is a 2.61% increase from 2019. By 2025, KPKT is targeting to achieve 40% National Recycling Rate.
“KPKT is committed to improving the waste management system and is taking proactive measures by planning to treat all the generated wastes before disposing them to the landfill.
“All new landfills in Malaysia will be Level Four sanitary, which employs high-density polyethene membrane liner to protect groundwater, leachate collection system complete with leachate treatment facility and a comprehensive landfill gas management system,” it said.
Level Four sanitary landfills can control the impact of leachate on the groundwater system by treating the leachate and constructing a seepage control.
All open landfills which have been fully utilised will be closed properly (safe closure) to minimise pollution and disturbance to the surrounding settlement.
Currently, 17 open landfills are safely closed.
KPKT plans to safely close all open landfills and replace them with a regional sanitary landfill and transfer stations.
In the 12th Malaysia Plan (2020- 2025), KPKT plans to safely close 14 non-sanitary landfills, build five sanitary landfills and 29 transfer stations.
Presently, only 21 landfills are sanitary, while 117 are non-sanitary.