Nov 192009

Thursday November 19, 2009


PUBLIC perception towards waste separation at source has to change if the lifespan of landfills is to be extended.

The Sungai Sedu landfill in Banting was to have ceased operations in June. Due to the scarcity of landfills in Selangor, Sungai Sedu remains open for municipal waste from Sepang and Putrajaya, a federal territory.

A pilot project to separate solid waste initiated in Putrajaya on Aug 29 by the Housing and Local Government Ministry aims to reduce the waste sent to landfills nationwide by 40%.

Changing the mindset: Safian (right) and Muhamad Zubir distributing flyers on the waste separation at source pilot project in Putrajaya.

The six-month project partners the National Solid Waste Management Department under the ministry with Perbadanan Putrajaya (PPj), Alam Flora Sdn Bhd and Konsortium SSI-Schaefer.

“The Solid Waste Management Act 2007 stresses on recycling and has a special allocation for waste separation at source,” emphasised Housing and Local Government Minister Datuk Seri Kong Cho Ha at the launch.

The pilot project involves 170 apartments in Precinct 8, 276 houses in Precinct 9 and 105 houses in Precinct 10. Schaefer has supplied altogether 1,800 120-litre mobile garbage bins (MGB) and 10-litre mini bins.

Pointing out the difference, Khairil Ibrahim of Konsortium SSI-Schaefer said: “The two-wheel MGBs come with green lids for organic waste like food, fruits, vegetables, leaves, prunings, flowers, twigs and small branches or grey covers for recyclables comprising paper, glass, plastic and metal.”

PPj city services chief assistant director Muhamad Zubir Saran said the collection schedule for organic waste was on Monday and Thursday while recyclables were picked up Monday.

“The ministry has loaned PPJ a compacter for the waste separation project and a lorry for collecting recyclables since the launch of the recycling project in 2004,” he added.

Up it goes: Mondays and Thursdays are organic waste collection days under the waste separation at source pilot
project in select housing precincts in Putrajaya.

Recyclables only amount to 5% of the solid waste collected in Putrajaya, amounting to 14,378 tonnes in 2008. The ministry has set a target to increase recycled waste nationwide from 5% to 22% by 2020. Solid waste produced by an individual in Putrajaya averages to 0.5kg to 1.5kg per person.

Jalan P9B & P9D Neighbourhood Watch committee member Safian Md Salleh said while the waste separation at source initiative was to be applauded, the biggest hurdle lay with changing mindsets.

“We are dealing with old habits here where people, especially those from villages, are used to discarding refuse under the banana tree. It is a good start but I foresee a long process.”

Working with PPj, the committee has been distributing flyers to educate the chosen households on the proper solid waste separation methods.

“The feedback received is that the process is cumbersome but necessary once the Solid Waste and Public Cleansing Management Act 2007 is enforced come February 2010,” added Safian.

Precinct 9 resident and community chef Roslan Adnan has his work cut out for him when the need arises for communal cooking. With the two-bin system, he needs to separate cooked food and gravy.

“It takes getting used to but once you develop a habit, I don’t think it is so difficult. It takes maybe 30 seconds more but residents need to consider the overall impact including the state of our landfills,” he suggested.

(Left) A little effort: Roslan putting his recyclables into one of the mini bins sponsored by Konsortium SSI-Schaefer for selected kitchens in Putrajaya.

Under the pilot project, PPj has also identified a 0.6ha site in Precinct 20 for solid waste composting, to be jointly maintained by UiTM and Alam Flora. Funding will come from the ministry.

Composting will convert organic waste to soil conditioner or organic manure for Putrajaya’s vast landscaping.

The ministry is also exploring suitable alternatives like vermiculture, a method of composting by breeding a species of earthworms.

Back in 2004, Putrajaya was selected as the national model for a recycling project, implemented by supplying residential areas with recycling bags, setting up recycling kiosks at apartments and establishing collection centres at government or private buildings and all 16 primary and secondary schools

Recyclables statistics for 2008 revealed that government and private sector buildings contributed 48%, housing 22%, recycling centres 18% and schools 11%.

It is acknowledged that the collection in Putrajaya is noticeably higher than other cities in the Klang Valley hence it is understandable for the pilot project to begin here.


Nov 172009

NO NEWS IS GOOD NEWS – “The earliest version of this familiar saying was attributed to the English King James I, who wrote in 1616, ‘No newis is bettir than evill newis.’

Well, I met a gentleman who believes in spreading good news, hence he started a newspaper “Good Paper”.  His motivation, is to spread good news, as there is just too much of not so good news wherever you turn to: – switch on the radio, TV, surf the Net.   To top it off, he believes that no adverts will be posted in this tabloid, which means he is digging deep into his pocket to keep this paper going.

So have a look at Good Paper which is a bi-monthly, bi-lingual newspaper devoted to only the positve side of news 😉  Support Good Paper!

Looks like there is still hope for the future, for good news.  So the saying “No News is Good News” may be out of style pretty soon.

Nov 172009

During my recent visit to Singapore last weekend, attending a meditation program, I have looked into the eyes of many people. I have spoken to many, and I believe I’ve been changed by these encounters.

One encounter with a friend of mine, opened up how people do the same action, but have completely different purpose which results in profound experiences. One conversation that comes to mind, is the use of public transport. I see myself using public transport as often as I can for two compelling reasons; 1. to have the experience of walking, listening, learning, observing the environment that I am in; and 2. to minimize my carbon footprint. My Singaporean friend, whom I was chatting with, sold his car and now uses public transport. I felt a sense of oneness with him, but after sharing with him, I discovered that his motivation for using public transport is worlds apart. He is totally disgruntled with the idea of driving. He believes that driving is a waste of time, money and resources, which I tend to agree when I look in the eyes of some of the drivers caught in traffic jams for hours, either leaving home to work or vice versa.

For me using public transport is an enriching experience for the reasons stated above, while for my dear friend, I get a feeling that he “has to” take public transport, for his reasons and believes.

pointofviewDifferences in points of view does contribute to richer conversation, and uplifting experiences. Both of us using public transport, achieve the same goal, i.e. to get from point A to point B. But the driving force behind the goal and the emotions, feelings and judgements vary for both of us, me being Malaysian and he Singaporean. Who knows how many other points of views are there in the world, just for the use of public transport. From the social point of view, one barrier to using public transport could be the “status” factor. Nevertheless, an important role played by public transport is to ensure that all members of society are able to travel, not just those with a driving license.

Down side is that you don’t get to eat, bring your pet or smoke inside public transportations, which you can do while driving 🙂

Nov 032009

Sarawak, part of Borneo, is a treasure trove of natural wonders, probably best appreciated through its many protected and well managed national parks and lush rain forests where alluring caves, cascading waterfalls, pristine beaches and exotic wildlife are waiting to be enjoyed.

My visit to Sarawak’s natural wonders, with my lovely wife, Kavita during our honeymoon back in 2002 brings back unforgettable fond memories of Gunung Gading National Park, Bako National Park, Niah National Park, the boat ride up the mighty Rajang river to Kapit and Belaga.

SarawakEmblem-w-flowerThe land of the majestic hornbill having diverse endemic species such as Proboscis Monkey, huge Rafflesia flowers in Gunung Gading NP, not forgetting the potpourri of different races and ethnic groups of people in Sarawak and the “Bruno Manser” saga which propelled Sarawak into the centerpiece of international attention over the years never stop to amaze and fascinate me.

Tomorrow, I return to Sarawak on a mission. To work for a client in the oil palm sector. This trip takes me to the northeastern region in the hinterland of Miri and Bintulu, giving me another chance to savor the ecologically and environmentally rich natural assets of Sarawak, not forgetting visits to long houses. For this reason Sarawak is still regarded as one of the top “nature adventure” destination in this part of the world.