SWCorp data shows trashpile averaged slightly over 200,000 tonnes a month since MCO 1.0, mostly from food and plastics

SWCorp attributed the large amount of waste being generated to Malaysia's increased population as well as low awareness on the proper way to dispose of rubbish. — Picture by Sayuti Zainudin
SWCorp attributed the large amount of waste being generated to Malaysia's increased population as well as low awareness on the proper way to dispose of rubbish. — Picture by Sayuti Zainudin

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KUALA LUMPUR, March 11 — Malaysians have been generating over 200,000 tonnes in household waste nearly every month since the start of the first movement control order (MCO) in March last year, The Star reported today.

Citing internal data from the Solid Waste Management and Public Health Cleansing Corporation (SWCorp), the daily reported that food and plastic waste were the top two contributors to landfills.

A total of 201,574 tonnes in domestic waste was collected in March 2020.

In April the same year, households threw away another 165,697 tonnes’ worth, followed by 197,919 tonnes in May and 214,326 tonnes in June.

Household waste dipped slightly in July to 212,036 tonnes but rose again in August to 215,224 tonnes, and totalled 207,457 for September.

Another 205,134 tonnes of domestic waste was collected in October, followed by a total of 207,700 tonnes in November and 211,990 tonnes in December 2020.

“The waste composition study was conducted at 29 landfills related to states enforcing the Solid Waste and Public Cleansing Management Act 2007 (Act 672), which are Johor, Negri Sembilan, Melaka, Pahang, Kuala Lumpur, Kedah and Perlis,” SWCorp was quoted saying by The Star in its report.

According to SWCorp, the large amount of waste being generated could be attributed to the population increase — Malaysia now has about 32 million people — as well as low awareness on the proper way to dispose of waste besides socioeconomic and lifestyle changes.

The company noted an increase in online purchases since the first MCO, including food, which it said has led to the added disposal of its plastic containers and packaging.

SWCorp said it has been reviewing waste composition annually since 2016 to track solid waste management in Malaysia.

It said that its study in 2019 showed that food waste made up 30 per cent of waste at landfills.

This was followed by plastics (24.8 per cent), paper (10.5 per cent), disposable diapers (11.1 per cent), textile (4.8 per cent) and waste from gardens and parks (4.1 per cent).

SWCorp said it found 892 illegal dumping sites from the start of the first MCO on March 18, 2020 and December 31, 2020.

The most were in Johor at 331, followed by 226 in Pahang, 89 in Kedah, 85 in the Federal Territories and Melaka, 52 in Negri Sembilan and 24 in Perlis.

SWCorp said it will continue its efforts to reduce waste production, including ramping up its public awareness campaigns through its official social media platforms, television, radio and newspapers.

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