People who waste more will have to pay more and every household will have to start separating recyclable items from other waste. These are two of the implications of the Solid Waste Management and Public Clean-Up Bill, which the Housing and Local Government Ministry expects to table in parliament in two weeks.

However, NST Online reports that its minister, Datuk Seri Ong Ka Ting, said that neither measure would be implemented immediately. In the case of higher charges for those who throw more, he said a system would have to be worked out once the bill was passed. He said it would be unfair to levy the same charges for a person who recycled and reduced waste and someone who threw out ever increasing amounts.

“Most countries make polluters pay. We will look at this approach when the bill is passed,” he said after closing the Sustainable Living in Malaysia 2007 conference.

“In Switzerland and Taipei (Taiwan), they tax those who produce more waste.

“But how to do it here? We will have to think of the system later.”

Used worldwide, the pay-as-you-throw scheme is to discourage wastage. On the mandatory separation of waste at source, Ong said it would only be enforced once concessionaires to collect the recyclable items had set up the facilities. Ong said the move to make separation at source compulsory under the legislation would widen recycling efforts which are now done on a voluntary basis. He also urged people to start recycling.

“Some already find it difficult to separate the waste and take it to the recycling centre or community centre at weekends.

“Let people prepare psychologically and start doing it now so it won‘‘t be so much of a culture shock later.”

Ong announced that the Solid Waste Management Corporation would be set up to take charge of all activities and functions relating to solid waste in Peninsular Malaysia. It will come under the purview of the federal government.

For this purpose, a Solid Waste Management Corporation Bill will also be tabled.

However, enforcement of the new legislation will be carried out by a federal department which will be set up soon.

In his off-the-cuff remarks during the conference, Ong described Malaysians‘‘ capacity to produce waste as “frightening”.

Last year, households generated about 19,000 tonnes of solid waste a day and recycled less than five per cent.

“It would take Malaysians just nine days to fill up both 88-storey columns of the Petronas Twin Towers. It‘‘s all happy buying and happy throwing for Malaysians.”

Ong said his ministry was facing an uphill battle in trying to make recycling work.

Some people could be convinced to do it through awareness programmes, but there were always those who did not care, he said, adding that it was because of the latter that legislation was necessary.

Ano da Publicação:
WARMER BULLETIN ENEWS #26-2007-June 29, 2006
Kit Strange/Warmer Bulletin
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