HULU SELANGOR, Feb 4 — Datuk Abdul Rahman Dahlan lamented today that only 15 per cent of all national waste collected was recycled, criticising the poor reception to the government’s waste segregation programme.
The urban wellbeing, housing and local government minister pointed out that the rate was lower than in developed countries such as Austria (68 per cent), Germany (62 per cent), Taiwan (60 per cent), Singapore (59 per cent), and South Korea (50 per cent).
“People need to change their lifestyle,” Abdul Rahman told reporters before a site visit at the Bukit Tagar sanitary landfill here.
“They need to recycle, they need to reduce household consumption. Awareness on the reuse, reduce and recycle or ‘3R’ programme is still very low. So there is still a long way to go and we need people to understand,” he added.
Abdul Rahman said he and his officers have been trying hard to educate the public on the matter, adding that while incinerators and landfills of sort are still available, the public cannot be nonchalant as these facilities may not be able to process the mounting amount of trash in the future.
The waste separation programme was launched in September last year. Households in Kuala Lumpur, Putrajaya, Pahang, Johor, Malacca, Negri Sembilan, Perlis and Kedah have to separate garbage according to paper, plastic, other recyclables and whatever else remains.
General waste will be picked up twice a week while the recyclable items ― along with bulky, as well as garden waste ― will be picked up on a third day, in plastic bags or other appropriate containers.
The state governments and two federal territories were the only ones that agreed to implement the Solid Waste and Public Cleansing Act 2007 (Act 672), in a joint effort with the federal government. Several councils in Selangor, meanwhile, have also started a similar programme.
A maximum fine of RM1,000 on households which do not separate their trash will be enforced from June 1 onwards.
According to the ministry's data obtained by Malay Mail Online, about 650,080.34 kg of recycled waste was collected from the states that implemented the Solid Waste and Public Cleansing Act 2007 (Act 672).
Kuala Lumpur (KL) recorded the highest collection rate of 172,611.75 kg, followed by Pahang with 166,637.09 kg.
Despite the number, the national recycling rate for last year was 15 per cent, a 3.2 basis point increase from 12.8 per cent in 2014.
* A previous version of this article reported that only 15 per cent of Malaysians recycled their waste. This was corrected after the ministry clarified the minister’s remarks.