Group urges Penang not to choose incinerator for waste disposal

A worker sorts through garbage at the Pulau Burung landfill in Nibong Tebal, Penang. — Picture by Sayuti Zainudin
A worker sorts through garbage at the Pulau Burung landfill in Nibong Tebal, Penang. — Picture by Sayuti Zainudin

GEORGE TOWN, July 29 — Penang should strive for zero-waste policies rather than contemplate building an incinerator to reduce the burden at local landfills, the Penang Consumers Association (CAP) said today.

CAP acting president Mohideen Abdul Kader said incineration and other polluting end-of-pipe technologies were not a logical or permanent solution to Malaysia’s waste crisis.

“Many countries are now embracing zero waste and investing in long-term waste management strategies including shutting down their incinerators,” he said in a statement today.

Even the most advanced incinerators release thousands of pollutants into the air, soil and water that would then enter the food supply and up the food chain, he argued.

He expressed shock at state exco Jagdeep Singh Deo’s professed belief that modern incinerators were a safe waste management option.

Incinerators would also destroy valuable resources that could be recovered through source segregation, composting and recycling, he said when reminding the official that recycling rates were still only at 43 per cent statewide.

“This is a good indication of diverting waste from being disposed of, and thus the state should have a higher diversion target and aspire to achieve the target faster,” he said.

He suggested that the state government explore initiatives to turn waste into resources rather than burning them and adding to existing pollution.

Mohican added that the proposed tipping rates for the incinerator of four times the existing RM22 per tonne would be burdensome to consumers.

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