Saturday, December 25, 2010
Last month I did a series on Plastic Bag versus Paper Bags. I would like to now do a series on Water. It will eventually take you through another debate, like Tap Water versus Bottled Water etc. Stay around and be ready for some surprises….that is a promise.
We will start today with two youTube videos. It would be great if you could gather your kids around to watch these two presentations. I suggest you click to wide screen when you are showing it to the kids. Let me know their reactions, can?
(This article was sent to me by a reader of SAMPAH. Thanks Joan)
Going green is much easier than most people think plus is has enormous benefits for us personally as well as environmentally. Each one of us can make a difference this Christmas festive season if you commit to not contributing to un-earth-friendly acts such as excessive energy consumption and waste generation. According to the eco friendly experts Lynn Colwell and Corey Colwell-Lipson, co-authors of ‘Celebrate Green’, we all have a responsibility to go green which includes at holiday celebrations. You can even save time and money while contributing to saving mother earth.
The December holiday period sees a landfill increase of 25% more litter which furthers global warming through off-gassing. You can enjoy Christmas and holiday celebrations while being good to the planet with just a few changes. With the tips below you can start an earth-friendly Christmas that will reduce your carbon foot print, create minimum impact on the earth and the good news is that it is easy, affordable, fun and rewarding.
1. Buy local and buy fresh – you will contribute to reducing long transportation use of resources. Also jet-setting food and other goods create tons of carbon dioxide emissions that could be avoided by buying locally produced items.
2. Trim your food shopping. The amount of food waste at Christmas is excessive. Start by trimming 20% off your list. Your guests won’t notice 20% and you’ll be contributing to less wastage. Use a shopping list and do not impulse buy and commit that you will not purchase anything outside your list no matter how enticing it looks.
3. Say no to wrapping paper. Try wrapping gifts in other gifts or hiding gifts in a sock, a bag or pot for extra fun. Engage your creativity. Make a Santa bag for each child that is re-used each year. Cut up old clothes and use the material to wrap your gifts.
4. Go for quality not quantity. Purchase long lasting gifts rather than breakables and consider making your own gifts. You can save money, gifts will have more meaning and are more likely to be cherished. If you have to buy gifts buy those made locally and choose ones that will last like wooden gifts rather than the latest gadgets that will be obsolete tomorrow and end up in land fill.
5. Re-use the same Christmas decorations, tableware and games/activities each year. Children love predictability and you create traditions with greater meaning when using the same soon to be treasured items each year. Remember if you need to purchase new items ensure they are a good quality that can be re-used year after year.
6. Recycle – this helps divert unnecessary waste from landfill. Ensure you separate your rubbish for recycling. Don’t fall in to the ‘lazy’ or ‘I’m too busy’ trap at Christmas. Remember your choices make a difference.
7. Time your lighting. Get yourself a timer and set it to turn your Christmas lights off after a maximum of 5 hours each night. Leaving them on for hours on end is excessive and unnecessary. The best option for outdoors is to get solar powered Christmas lights which are now available in all sorts of shapes and colors.
Making your own gifts, buying locally, buying less, re-using what you already have are all great ways you can start contributing to a eco friendly Christmas that will help preserve resources and reduce waste. Plus adults will become good role models for the benefits of getting back to basics with moderation and thinking of and contributing to the greater good! Merry Christmas!
(Last night after our family dinner, Kevin surprised us all with his gift paper. It was ordinary newsprint paper with personalised sketchings of the receiver. Mine of course had a mask and moustache, drawn by my daughter-in-law MaryAnne.)
Wednesday, December 22, 2010
We still litter unashamedly. Our cities are dumps. Our toilets are stinkers. Our rivers are dumpsites.
We have the highest accident rate according to Hawkeye’s recent posting. Malaysia has the highest rate of road traffic fatalities in Southeast Asia, with 23.6 deaths per 100 thousand people. Just 27 yesterday!We registered higher traffic accident deaths than Vietnam, Thailand, Cambodia, Indonesia, Phillipines.
What does all this point to? INDISCIPLINE!
And the PM announced grand plans of building nuclear plants.
Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng declared on Monday that he would not allow a nuclear plant to be built in the state.Today, Selangor executive councillor Elizabeth Wong has slammed Prime Minister Najib abdul Razak for his “obsession” with building two controversial nuclear power plants in Malaysia.
“This will be an economic and environmental disaster. Najib wants to squander RM21.3 billion on a Cold War-era dream when we should be embracing the 'solar century',” said Wong, who is the state cabinet member in charge of environment.
“We should build upon our strengths in clean energy rather than get trapped in a toxic dead end.”
Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng declared on Monday that he would not allow a nuclear plant to be built in the state.
Wong ticked Najib off for his “confused priorities” and for being too slow to act on reducing Malaysia's greenhouse gas emissions.
Monday, December 20, 2010
In responding to announcements by Energy, Green Technology and Water Minister Peter Chin that two nuclear plants will be ready by 2021 and 2022 respectively, Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng vehemently stated: “ The Penang government will not allow the federal government to build nuclear plants in the state!. I wish to reiterate that as long as Pakatan Rakyat rules Penang, the state government will not support or allow any nuclear plants to be built in Penang to keep Penangites safe from nuclear contamination!”
Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng said that Malaysia's track record of maintaining infrastructure was also questionable thereby increasing the risk of a nuclear disaster.
“With our poor maintenance mentality, even a stadium or a classroom can collapse; what assurances then can be given in relation to safety and the environment following the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear plant accident in Ukraine, that claimed 56 lives and resulted in 4,000 cancer deaths?” asked Lim.
In a recent conference, a participant put this question to Ministry officials: How can you control nuclear waste when we can’t even MANAGE MUNICIPAL WASTE well? No answers were forthcoming from any of the officials. Period.
In another development, Klang MP Charles Santiago said that Chin's announcement yesterday showed that the federal government had backtracked on its promise to consult the public and conduct a “comprehensive study” on the matter.
“The minister promised the public and Parliament that there will be adequate and meaningful consultations with all stakeholders before a decision is made on going nuclear.
“The prime minister in his 1Malaysia blog promised a 'comprehensive study' before going ahead on building nuclear power plants.
“In fact, the premier said that 'all options for electricity generation, from biomass to wind, will be explored' before making a decision on building nuclear power plant in the country,” said Santiago in a statement today.
He laments that the “comprehensive study”, if any, has not been made public.
CHECK OUT THE FULL REPORT HERE
Friday, December 17, 2010
Three of us were savoring Suntory Hibiki 17. The Japanese are slowly but surely teaching the Scots a thing or two about scotch. The nose is quite full. There are notes of honey and wax, resin and oak. There are notes of gentle smoke and cacao, hints of cooked fruit and a nutty note. The palate is sweet and rich. There are crisp notes of mixed peels, raisin and custard with a little zest and plenty of oak. The finish is long with notes of oak and cocoa and sherried peels. All these after three discerning sips. It was then that Boom dropped this bomb!
He declared that air pollution causes 24,000 premature deaths every year and that the British Government will be facing legal action. We allowed him to carry on because Mary our ecowarrior was vacationing in London and thus unable to defuse this bomb. Mary, do give us the dope on this if you happen to visit Sampah.
Boom continued that the UK government is failing to tackle air pollution despite the UK being one of the worst polluters in Europe. Confronted, he said his source was a published report by the Centre for Crime and Justice Studies at King’s College, London. Aware of our sneering cynicism He pulled out this report from that nondescript “green” bag of his. I produce the brief revelation verbatim:
This report is part of the ‘What is crime?’ project, funded by the Wates Foundation, which highlights hidden harms and challenges popular ideas about what crime is.
Crime is in the air highlights the following:
· It is estimated that 24,000 British residents die prematurely every year and thousands more are hospitalized, because of air pollution.
· Levels of air pollution across London require urgent attention as the 2012 games approaches.
· The EU is currently preparing a legal case against the British Government for repeatedly breaching pollution levels. More than 20 towns and cities have been found to be emitting pollution at twice the level specified in WHO standards.
Author of the report Professor Reece Walters said: Existing government regulations to tackle air pollution are based on a biased and erroneous partnership model that takes a soft approach with commercial polluters. The annual prosecutions for offences are appallingly disproportionate to the harm caused by air pollution. The existing regulatory system prioritises trade and economic prosperity over public safety, and this is totally unacceptable.
Richard Garside, director of the Centre for Crime and Justice Studies said:
The serious consequences of air pollution are frequently neglected. Crime is in the air indicates that current approaches to regulation and pollution control are biased in favor of economic imperative and are failing to tackle the health problems caused by air pollution. Probably this is because the majority of people affected live in low income areas.
All three of us agreed that we cap the Hibiki 17 until this sad revelation takes a turn for the better.
Monday, December 13, 2010
SENTRY BOAT, a commentator replies to “ADOI, CHE DET TALKING SAMPAH TOO”.
We are the beneficiary of the economic growth, thank you Tun for that, but PLEASE, when we talk about Waste Management, we flunk tremendously. Let's go down memory lane, - Pekan Anak Bukit (close to home) used to have a Pasar or Pekan NAD, locally known, open for business every Sunday Morning. When I was a kid, the rubbish, after the pasar nad was over in the afternoon, was collected by “sentry boat” then the Sanitary Board near the current railway track and either burnt or sent to dumpsite in Jabi. But now, 45 years have passed, the Pekan Nad moves behind the old dilippidated Majlis Bandaran Anak Bukit building, and guess what, the rubbish are still collected and sent to the dumpsite.
45 YEARS HAVE PASSED.
And now, Alor Star becomes Bandaraya and Anak Bukit is the Bandar diRaja and the Federal Government offices moved to Anak Bukit. Now, lets take a look back at the country's situation:
290 over dumpsites in the country
7 incinerators bought and none are working (public funds), 5 new (RM200 million, no track record)
1 transfer stations, 3 years completed, not working (public funds)
big incinerators - hundreds of millions spend (public fund)
9 new sanitary landfill (290 million, public funds)
Another RM250 million a year to rebrand this service into 2 sector, policying (police) and operation (operators). Wonder who is going to take responsibility when the judge and the accused is sitting on the same side. Did anyone ever wonder how much is RM250 million divided over by the 18000 tons/ day of waste generated? That is RM38 per ton or RM648,000 per day for just employing and monitoring about 2000 to 3000 person per day. If this amount is being trickled down to the real operators, the country would have sparkling clean couple with the cukai pintu being collected by the municipalities.
"Corporate games" of David Cooperfield have to go. "Vegetation" carpet and green facades does not eliminate problems, but rather procrastinating the "time bomb". Our far sighted PM talks about transformation, reduction in GHG, Renewable Energy, recycling, resource recovery, rakyat didahulukan etc., these words are mere RHETORIC when certain privileged persons were given the "fast track" in so called solving environmental issues and taking advantage of the unsuspecting public chasing the stock market returns through "the story lines" in the media. A very pathetic situation indeed. And this will not go far in building our capital market to be ready for developing Green Initiative market.
When over 90% of the NEM is expected to be PFI driven, and yet there are more announcements of public spending in the certain projects even if they are ways of solving it without the good public and limited fund being used.
So Che Det, there's more to talk, but lets look at the basic challenge, Rakyat di Dahuluklan, Kejayaan di Utamakan, means the HIJRAH needs a Mind set Change and Political Will.
Friday, December 10, 2010
In his usual trademark sarcasm Dr M made a dig HERE at our half-hearted attempts at Solid Waste Management. But there is some truth in his concluding smirk:
Frankly I think the authorities are scared to apply any solution because we are a democracy and no one wants to lose votes.
He would be referring to the BN controlled states, because two Pakatan States, Selangor and Penang have taken bold steps in their campaigns to do away with plastic bags, campaigns that go against the grain amongst our complacent citizenry, ever ready to take the route of least resistance.
Last week I made mention of a Made in Malaysia RRC(Refuse Recovery Centre)-RDF(Refuse Derived Fuel) –WTE (Waste to Energy) plant that gained international recognition and is the only such plant in the region HERE. The word I get is that some quarters in the Housing & Local Government Ministry is looking askance at this Made-in-Malaysia solution/initiative. Is it because the Ministry is making a concerted effort to Federalize Solid Waste Management (SWM). This is of course contrary to Agenda 21 of which Malaysia is a signatory. The UK federalized their SWM, failed miserably and have reverted back to allowing the municipalities/councils to manage their own waste. Municipal Waste Management ideally should be the responsible of each State Government. SWM is big money and I have this niggling suspicion that cronies would be making a bee-line for this big kill. I may be wrong although I hear that a company seeking listing (or already listed in the SC) is the front-runner. If this is so, then it is more like filling the deep pockets of cronies than digging deep into the resources available to manage our municipal wastes!
Housing and Local Government Minister Datuk Chor Chee Heung said that if modern technology on the management of solid waste were in place, the lifespan of the landfills could be extended by more than 20 years.
“Sixteen of the 292 landflls in the country had been closed because they were full.”
POLITICAL WILL/SUPPORT IS THE KEY TO ACCELERATE THE SUCCESS OF THE RRC-RDE-WTE NOVEL TECHNOLOGY. CHANGE OF MINDSET FROM DUMPING OR LANDFILLING OF MUNICIPAL SOLID WASTE TO TECHNOLOGY DRIVEN LOCAL SOLUTION IS NEEDED TO ACHIEVE AN INTEGRATED WASTE MANAGEMENT SYSTEM.
Tuesday, December 7, 2010
Federalisation vs. Local Government’s Authority in Solid Waste Management
The Solid Waste and Public Cleansing Management Bill was passed by Parliament on 17 July 2007 and Gazetted on 30th August 2007 (“the Act”). The other Bill is the Solid Waste and Public Cleansing Management Corporation Bill 2007 established under the Act.
The Act applies to Peninsular Malaysia and the Federal Territories of Putrajaya and Labuan and gives the Federal Government executive authority in the management of the solid waste and public cleansing.
Previously, solid waste management was under the Department of Local Government and Local Authorities but with the passing of the Act, the Federal Government takes over all matters related to solid waste management.
The intention behind the formulation of the new Act is to bring uniformity in law and policy in matters related to the management of controlled solid waste and public cleansing throughout to Peninsular Malaysia and the Federal Territories of Putrajaya and Labuan.
IMPACT ON THE ROLE OF THE LOCAL GOVERNMENT AUTHORITIES
In so far as solid waste management is concerned the Local Government or State Authorities have practically no function at all except monitoring and assisting the Corporation in its operations. The Act has amended Section 72 (1) and Section 73 (1).of the Local Government Act 1976 (Act 171). All matters related to solid waste management as defined above now will be under the Federal Government.
OVERVIEW OF THE ACT PER SE
The Director General has been vested with extensive powers to formulate plans, strategies, set standards, implement policies in all aspects of solid waste management including approvals, granting of licenses and enforcement.
The powers vested in the DG should have checks and balances otherwise it can lead to abuse. To date there is no such machinery in place to check the powers of the DG. This should be looked into immediately and recommendations for measures to be taken in consultation by all stakeholders in the solid waste management business, the NGO’s, the Bar Council and other interested parties. The measures will prevent any unfairness or selective approvals and grants of licenses and prosecution.
Decision of the Minister on appeal is final and binding. Where is the recourse if the party aggrieved is not satisfied with the decision. There should be a platform for the aggrieved party. It is suggested that there must be a provision for review by the Courts. It is a legal perspective that all administrative decisions must be reviewable by the courts of law.
As the current position stands, the Director General and the Minister plays the role of legislative, executive, administrative and enforcement. This raises the question of who will be accountable for the acts or omissions of each of the 4 roles of the Director General and the Minister.
As it is said power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.
LOCAL AGENDA 21
In 1991, at the UN Conference on Environment and Development Chapter 28 stipulated a mandate for all local governments and authorities to prepare a “Local Agenda 21”
Malaysia is one of the countries which launched an initiative to ensure that the ideals of Local Agenda 21 will be implemented with a commitment to put in place a national Local Agenda 21 Programme by the year 2002.
Local Agenda 21 is mentioned in Chapter 28 of Agenda 21, and calls upon all local authorities, municipalities worldwide to implement actions for sustainable development, in partnership with all stakeholders from the local community.
Chapter 28 of Agenda 21 states “….. Because so many of the problems and solutions being addressed by Agenda 21 have their roots in local activities, the participation and cooperation of local authorities will be a determining factor in fulfilling its objectives”.
Countries such as Denmark, UK, Japan and Korea have shown wide community participation at the local level in line with the objectives of Local agenda 21. Many localities in these countries have become role models and gained international recognition for practicing Local Agenda 21 ideas.
So where have the local governments or State Authorities of Malaysia failed in this Local Agenda 21 which includes amongst other activities, inter alia water supply, energy, sanitation, drainage and solid waste management in an integrated approach.
The reasons given can be said to vary from lack of funds to weakness in the waste disposal to shortcomings in the management by the respective states or municipalities etc. This is also the reasons given by the Federal Government in taking over total control of the solid waste management from the Local Governments besides the uniformity of laws relating to the same.
In Malaysia, it appears that instead of the Federal allowing the Local Government or State authorities to control the solid waste management, the Federal Government is taking control and incurring more costs, making the whole exercise more expensive and implementation difficult.
The Local Government is in the best position to know how to deal with the different categories of waste, waste conditions according to local conditions and diversity. As solid waste management is a localised resource and involves the local community it ought to be the respective State Authorities who should be empowered to undertake the integrated approach of solid waste management as each state has its own peculiarities relating to their respective community.
The Local Government on their part should encourage deeper stakeholder participation, award contracts on open tender, encourage more waste management companies with different initiatives, abilities and technologies which can improve the growth of the local economy.
The Federal Government ought to facilitate and enhance the capacity of the Local Government through financial subsidies and incentives. This is particularly relevant in the management of solid waste and related recycling activities. To date it has been reported that although RM 73 million has been spent by the Federal Government for recycling activities, only 5% of the targeted objective has been achieved.
By taking over of the solid waste management, the Federal Government has set up the Corporation, is recruiting personnel (about 2,000 over), training them and this will end up with the Federal Government in having to deal with additional administrative problems and difficulty in implementation, leading to inefficiency, wastage of funds and rendering the objectives and intentions of the ACT ineffective.
Separation of powers is important. The Federal Government can pass policies but the implementation of the Solid Waste Management ought to be at the Local Government level, for an example, a solid waste management facility will be at set up in the State concerned.
The Federal Government and the Local Government have to work together to make the Act effective and if the Federal Government and the Local Government cannot work together then it would be difficult to implement the Act. As stated earlier, the State can elect to set up their own waste management system but at their own costs.
At the end of the day, be it the Federal Government or Local Government having the powers and control of solid waste management, a more proactive and inventive approach is to be taken by encouraging all stakeholders participation which includes all the companies involved in providing waste management services and not only the selective few, in the development of solid waste management that will ultimately bring about an effective integrated solid waste management system.
Recognition and adoption of new technologies or proven technologies being used for the first time in Malaysia such as RDF and not focusing solely on incineration per se, should be encouraged as these are localised technologies developed for local conditions. This will be in line with advocating good waste management practice principles such as Best Available Technology Not Entailing Excessive Cost (BATNEEC), Best Available Technology Suiting Socio Economic Standing (BATSSES). This would contribute to the advancement of scientific research in waste and related disciplines/activities as well as technological development in environmental areas in Malaysia.
The above approach will ultimately bring Malaysia in the same standing as other developed countries relating to sustainable development. Otherwise, the whole exercise no matter how good the intentions of the Act, will be a futile exercise especially in the arena of solid waste management.
Excerpts from a paper presented by Ms Rajinder Kaur Gill
Thursday, December 2, 2010
In its Dec 1 issue, Power Magazine gives international recognition to a Malaysian effort on Renewable Energy:
Top Plant: Kajang Waste-to-Energy Plant, Semenyih, Malaysia
By Angela Neville, JD
Owner/operator: Core Competencies Sdn Bhd/Recycle Energy Sdn Bhd
At Malaysia’s first waste-to-energy plant, municipal solid waste (MSW) is converted into refuse-derived fuel for use in an integrated steam power plant. This facility was designed to achieve the twin objectives of environmentally friendly MSW disposal and generating renewable power.
Malaysia is a multicultural smorgasbord of Malay, Chinese, Indian, and British influences. This fusion of different cultures has helped to promote an entrepreneurial economy that embraces modern development.
To meet the electrical needs of this dynamic country, the private sector is turning to new generation technologies. Commissioned in 2009, Kajang Waste-to-Energy Plant, which is located approximately 13 miles from the national capital Kuala Lumpur, is an example of such innovation.
The waste-to-energy (WTE) facility consists of the refuse-derived fuel (RDF) plant, which prepares the fuel, and the steam power plant. The facility has the capacity to process approximately 1,100 U.S. tons of municipal solid waste (MSW) per day into RDF in fluff form and then use that fuel to produce approximately 8 MW of electricity daily. Electricity produced powers the RDF plant, and the remainder is sold to the national power grid.
This $50 million venture was set up by private initiative. The three revenue streams from this operation are:
- Tipping fees charged at the beginning of the process.
- The sale of by-products such as plastics, metals, and organics for composting at the intermediate stage.
- The sale of electricity at the end of the process.
These different revenue sources ensure the viability of the operations.
The facility’s twin goals of environmentally friendly disposal of MSW and maximum extraction of energy have been achieved to a large extent. Currently, 77% of dormant energy in the waste is recovered in the fuel. By adding the use of biogas released from wet organics, recovery will increase to 83%, because only 17% of the energy will be used in the conversion of waste into fuel.
Malaysia generates about 17,000 tons of MSW per day, which has a net power potential of 150 MW if RDF and biogas firing in boilers are used. The Core Competencies management hopes this new WTE facility will be the forerunner for large-scale adoption of this technology. The Malaysian government has already awarded one more project to handle 1,000 tons per day of MSW; that project is located in Johar province in the southern tip of peninsular Malaysia.
“Encouraged by the successful operation of this venture, the national government here is actively considering adopting this technology on a large scale,” Sivaprasad said. “This is one way of meeting the commitments that national governments have made for mitigation in the realm of climate change”
— Angela Neville, JD, is senior editor of POWER.
THE FULL STORY