Time for KTI to wake up and smell the landfill contamination — Sharifah Danisah Syed Ibrahim

JULY 10 — I am disappointed that six landfills have been found to have serious and recurring leachate contamination issues.

But this does give strength to my previous position, which the Kuala Lumpur Tak Nak Incinerator Action Committee (KTI) has condemned for being pro-incinerator.

This despite KTI being pro-landfill; what their position is with a small defence of recycling.

Let me state the mistaken view by some groups: The option of recycling works together with either incineration or putting processed trash in landfills, it is not one-sided to either one.

We should have more recycling, and that would mean less waste for landfills or incinerators.

And now the minister, Natural Resources and Environment Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar has come out and said that six solid waste landfills were found to have serious and recurring leachate contamination issues.

Not minor problems, but major ones. Not isolated, as there are 74 instances of enforcement.

The affected landfills are Taman Beringin, Kuala Lumpur; Pajam, Negri Sembilan; Sungai Udang, Melaka; Pulau Burung, Penang; Tanah Merah Estate, Negri Sembilan; and CEP Simpang Renggam Estate, Johor.

This must raise the interest of many politicians and civil servants, especially when Kuala Lumpur is deciding whether to rely solely on landfills or to include incinerators in the mix.

KTI has been using the attack that the management of the five small incinerators at sites like Tioman and Pangkor have been mismanaged.

Now that there is a serious problem with landfills, will KTI say it is only a matter of better regulations? If that is the case, then certainly, incinerators are wrongly accused of having a bad name because the government picked the wrong contractor for the small incinerators before.

The small incinerators won't affect the new incinerator project because different owners have been mooted, like DRB-Hicom and MRCB.

Just as the model landfill used by KTI is Berjaya's Bukit Tagar is not faulty because there are many landfills with problems due to power implementation, the next incinerator cannot be condemned solely on some badly-run incinerators in the past.

Neither landfills nor incinerators have been proven to be faulty technology, but they are just two competing solutions.

So, having so many so-called environmentalist defending landfills without being critical about the problems that are very present in landfills is not responsible.

The Department of Environment have concluded the landfill problems have been associated with landfill design fault and inadequate existing leachate treatment system struggling with the increasing volume of solid waste received.

I think this is a very important reminder to the government to not rule out any technology while intensifying recycling efforts.

Just putting recycling bins in affluent city malls will not solve the problem. And neither will just condemning incinerators.

* Read my previous article on the issues here and KTI’s reply to me here.

** This is the personal opinion of the writer and does not necessarily represent the views of Malay Mail Online.

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