Problems in the country. According to SWCorp Malaysia, a government agency dealing with solid waste, Malaysians generate about 38,000 tonnes of waste per day.
With rapid development and population increase, the amount of waste generated will increase. We need to find a way to address this problem before it becomes critical.
Sanitary landfill is one of the most common methods of waste disposal. Landfills are where waste is isolated from the environment until it is safe (the waste is completely degraded biologically, chemically and physically). Landfills, if not managed, can be hazardous to the environment.
Last year, the then natural resources and environment minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar said there were six solid waste landfills with recurring leachate problems.
When landfill waste degrades and rain rinses through solid waste, leachate is formed. The black liquid contains organic and inorganic chemicals, heavy metals, as well as pathogens that can pollute groundwater, soil and air. Leachate is toxic to the environment and poses a health risk.
Landfills are not designed to break down waste, only to store it. The bacteria in waste produces methane gas, which is highly flammable and dangerous if allowed to collect underground.
The 3R principle of reduce, reuse and recycle is a great way to protect our environment and stimulate the economy.
The 3R programme in solid waste management is to help reduce the amount of garbage going into landfills.
This is done to protect and conserve our environment. However, public awareness of 3R is low due to weak enforcement.
We should change our attitudes and play our part in helping
to reduce, reuse and recycle garbage to protect our environment. If there is less trash produced, less of it ends up in the ocean. Reducing the amount of trash that goes into the landfills can reduce pollution.
Nor Azizah Che Azmi, Lecturer, Faculty of Civil Engineering, Universiti Teknologi Mara, Pasir Gudang, Johor