What is Waste Management?
Waste management involves collecting, transporting, processing, recycling and disposing waste materials, in an effort to reduce their adverse effects on human health and the environment. Waste materials include solid, liquid or gaseous substances. The implementation of waste management requires careful planning and also adequate financial resources and is the responsibility of all parties involved such as individuals, businesses and corporations, including SMEs.

Waste Management under the 9th Malaysia Plan (8MP)

It was reported in the 9MP that the amount of solid waste generated in Peninsular Malaysia increased from 16,200 tonnes per day in 2001 to 19,100 tonnes in 2005 or an average of 0.8 kg per capita per day. Solid waste in Malaysia comprises on average 45.0% food waste, 24.0% plastic, 7.0% paper, 6.0% iron, and 3.0% glass and others. Despite concerted efforts to promote reuse, reduction and recycling (3Rs) of materials through the National Campaign on Recycling, the amount of solid waste recycled remained at less than 5.0% of total waste disposed.
In the same period, an average of 430,000 tonnes of scheduled (hazardous) waste was generated per annum. Of the total waste generated in 2004, about 18.8% was treated and disposed in the toxic waste treatment and disposal facility in Bukit Nanas, Negeri Sembilan, 58.0% was recycled and recovered at licensed premises, 19.7% was treated and stored within the premises of generators, 0.7% was exported for recycling and 2.7% was disposed at clinical waste incinerators. The recycling and material recovery from toxic waste registered a significant increase from 29.0% in 2001 to 58.0% in 2004. This resulted in a reduction in toxic waste treated and stored within premises from 59.9% in 2001 to 19.7% in 2004.

The National Strategic Plan for Solid Waste Management (NSPSWM)

The National Strategic Plan for Solid Waste Management (NSPSWM), which was approved by the Government in 2005, sets the broad direction on the integrated waste management of the country. It addresses the need for a master plan on waste minimisation to provide a framework and action plan to implement waste minimization and 3R (reuse, reduction and recycling) activities.
The 9th Malaysia Plan (9MP) provides for the implementation of the NSPSWM with emphasis on the upgrading of unsanitary landfills as well as the construction of new sanitary landfills and transfer stations with integrated material recovery facilities. Priority will continue to be given to reduce, reuse, recover and recycle waste as well as greater use of environmentally-friendly materials such as bioplastics. Legislation to streamline solid waste management will be enacted to facilitate the implementation of the strategies and measures in the Strategic Plan. Awareness-raising campaigns and activities will be increased to educate the public on the benefits of practicing sustainable consumption. A solid waste department will be established to implement these measures and to administer solid waste policy, planning and management.
Management of Solid Waste in 9MP (Housing & Urban Services)
The management of solid waste under housing and urban services during the 9MP period will be based on the NSPSWM. The NSPSWM sets out the policies, strategies and plan of action in the management of solid waste and will be a guide for all stakeholders in the planning and allocation of resources. Existing institutions, legislation and regulations pertaining to the management of solid waste will be reviewed and infrastructural facilities will be improved. Priority will be accorded to reduction, reuse and recovery as well as the technology and type of facilities to be provided, including the construction of small and manageable-sized disposal facilities. A new entity, the Solid Waste Management Department will be established under the Ministry of Housing and Local Government to undertake policy formulation, planning and management of solid waste including financial management.
During the 9MP period, public awareness campaigns will be intensified to ensure better public response and participation in development programmes, projects and activities on the management of solid waste. These campaigns will focus on educating the public on the need to have proper waste management facilities, the costs associated with the provision of such services and the role of the public in waste minimization programmes. At the national level, a master plan on solid waste minimization will be formulated. This master plan aims to strengthen the institutional capacity of respective agencies as well as to create a society that is committed towards waste minimization and achieving a recycling target of 22% by 2020.
Management of Hazardous Waste under 9MP
A hazardous waste is a solid, liquid or gas that could pose dangers to human health or the environment. In Malaysia, the control of hazardous wastes is governed by the Environmental Quality Act 1974. Under the Environmental Quality (Scheduled Wastes) Regulations, 1989, scheduled wastes are required to be handled properly and as far as is practical, be rendered innocuous before disposal. These categories of wastes shall be disposed off at prescribed premises only and be treated at prescribed premises or treatment facilities only. Currently, there are 107 categories of scheduled wastes listed under these regulations.
Under the 9MP, the institutional capacity of the relevant agencies managing toxic and hazardous substances will be further strengthened via the adoption of a global harmonized system for the registration of imports, transportation and safe handling of chemical and hazardous substances. Measures will also be undertaken to develop a framework to facilitate the utilization of approaches and technologies to treat and convert toxic waste into resources for reuse. In addition, steps to address the indiscriminate use of chemicals, particularly in agricultural practices, will be intensified.
SMEs’ Role in Waste Management
The partnership between the Government, the private sector, the NGOs, and the public is crucial in the progress of the national waste management agenda. SMEs have a major role to play in assisting the Government to achieve its recycling goals, by creating mechanisms to facilitate the segregation of recyclable wastes and to ensure that these wastes are sent to the relevant parties instead of being dumped in landfills and illegal dumpsites. Furthermore, SMEs must also ensure that proper waste management systems are in place in conducting their day-to-day businesses.
Waste Management Association of Malaysia (WMAM)
Persatuan Pengurusan Sisa Malaysia also known as the Waste Management Association of Malaysia (WMAM) is an association for waste management professionals. Founded in March 2005, the WMAM works to promote and encourage the maintenance of high standards of waste management services in Malaysia in respect of solid and liquid waste, hazardous, clinical and all other types of waste. It also encourages collaboration and cooperation between all those interested and concerned with waste management.
The WMAM is a non-profit, technical and educational organization that provides a forum where all viewpoints of waste management matters can be discussed. As a newly established association, it aims to establish and maintain contact with local as well as international waste management related organizations apart from organizing meetings, technical visits, trainings, courses, workshops and seminars on issues of waste management including study trips to promote the transfer of practical information and ideas on waste management for the benefit and welfare of the members.
Contact details:
Waste Management Association of Malaysia
No. 20, Jalan Wan Kadir 1
Taman Tun Dr Ismail
60000 Kuala Lumpur
Tel: 603-7724 2243
Fax: 603-7726 9062