Friday, January 1, 2010

DUN Sitting (Day Seven): Sarawak Plans To Merge, Upgrade Dumpsites To Sanitary Landfills, says Soon Koh

(Nov 09, 2010)

KUCHING -- Sarawak has proposed to merge and upgrade the existing dumpsites in the state to at least level three sanitary landfills in phases, state Environment and Public Health Minister Datuk Seri Wong Soon Koh said Tuesday.

He said the ministry had conducted a study and proposed to upgrade the dumpsites to sanitary landfills equipped with cells, gas venting system, leachate treatment system and polishing ponds.

"We have secured funding this year from the Ministry of Housing and Local Government to upgrade the leachate treatment plant and build new cells at the Kemuyang sanitary landfill, Sibu costing RM7.5 million and at the Sibuti sanitary landfill, Miri costing RM6.8 million.
"In addition, the ministry has also approved the safe closure of the Kuala Baram, Miri dumpsite costing RM8 milion and the upgrading of the landfill in Sarikei," he said in his winding-up speech for his ministry at the state assembly sitting, here Tuesday.

"This is part of the state government's effort to tackle the problem of open dumpsites not complying with the standards and requirements of the Natural Resources and Environment Board (NREB)."

Wong who was clarifying a media report based on the Auditor-General's Report that the open dumpsites in the state did not comply with the standards and requirements of the NREB, said the issue did not arise.

"The dumpsites were established before the Natural Resources and Environment Ordinance 1993, Natural Resources and Environment (Prescribed Activities) Order 1994 and the Guidelines for Establishment of Sanitary Landfills 2003 came into force," he said.

Wong said there were 49 landfills of various sizes in the state and 44 of these were just open dumpsites without built-in environmental engineering features such as lining, gas venting, leachate treatment plant and polishing pond.

In efforts to minimise pollution from e-waste, Wong said the Department of Environment (DOE) had issued 153 licences for e-waste recovery or processing facilities throughout Malaysia, seven of which were in Sarawak including two full e-waste recovery centres, one each in Mambong, Kuching and in Sibuti, Miri.

"DOE plans to enact a special regulation to encourage manufacturers or importers of electronic and electrical goods to take back used products to be treated, recycled and disposed of," he said.

E-waste, such as defunct electronic and electrical items like computers, washing machines, television sets, handphones, batteries, refrigerators and air-conditioners, is estimated to amount to about 640 tonnes per year.

E-waste is classified as scheduled waste and is hazardous and contains heavy metals and chemical elements such as cadmium, lead, mercury, arsenic and chromium which are non-biodegradable and harmful to human beings.


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