“SOLID WASTE MANAGEMENT IN MALAYSIA”
SITI AZRYNNA BINTI MOHD AZANI
What is solid waste management?
Solid waste management is another term for garbage management. Solid waste management is a system which handles any garbage, refuse, sludge from a wastewater treatment plant, water supply treatment plant, or air pollution control facility and other discarded materials including solid, liquid, semi-solid, or contained gaseous material, resulting from industrial, commercial, mining and agricultural operations, and from community activities, but does not include solid or dissolved materials in domestic sewage, or solid or dissolved materials in irrigation return flows or industrial discharges. In the beginning solid waste management consisted of digging pits and throwing garbage into them. This created a record of the kinds of lives that people lived, showing things like what people ate, the materials used to make eating utensils, and other interesting glimpses into historic daily life. When human cities began to be more concentrated, however, solid waste management became a serious issue. Houses that did not have room to bury their garbage would throw it into the streets, making a stroll to the corner store an unpleasant prospect. In response, many cities started to set up municipal garbage collection, in the form of rag and bone men who would buy useful garbage from people and recycle it, or waste collection teams which would dispose of unusable garbage. For most industrialized nations today, solid waste management is a multibillion dollar business which is also crucial to survival. Garbage collection agencies remove tons of garbage yearly and sort it for recycling or ultimate disposal. Most cities require citizens to pay for waste collection, while rural areas have dumps and recycling facilities for citizens to bring their garbage to. Solid waste management also is focused on developing environmentally sound methods of handling garbage for example, solid waste is no longer dumped into oceans or unlined pits. There are a number of types of solid waste which need to be dealt with. The first is recyclable waste, waste that are useful, but no longer wanted. Solid waste that can be recycle includes scrap metal, glass, cans, paper, plastics, wood, and similar materials. Another category is toxic waste, waste which could potentially contaminate the environment, meaning that it needs to be handled with care. This category includes electronic waste, a growing problem in many industrialized nations. Next is green waste such as compost and yard clippings. People with land can compost their own green waste, and many cities collect it separately from true garbage, the final category, so that the green waste can be composted and returned to the earth.
Is there any international convention or treaty on this issue?
There is one international convention named Basel Convention on the Control of Tran boundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and Their Disposal also known as the Basel Convention. It’s an international treaty that was designed to reduce the movements of hazardous waste between nations, and specifically to prevent transfer of hazardous waste from developed to less developed countries (LDCs). It does not address the movement of radioactive waste. The Convention is also intended to minimize the amount and toxicity of wastes generated, to ensure their environmentally sound management as closely as possible to the source of generation and to assist LDCs in environmentally sound management of the hazardous and other wastes they generate.
The Convention was opened for signature on 22 March 1989, and entered into force on 5 May 1992. A list of parties to the Convention, and their ratification status, can be found on the Basel Secretariat's web page for example Malaysia, Paraguay, Bahamas, Nigeria and many more. Of the 172 parties to the Convention, Afghanistan, Haiti, and the...
References: 2. Department of Environmental Conservation, “What is Solid Waste”, <http://www.dec.ny.gov/chemical/8732.html> (08/03/2010)
4. Department of Environment, <http://www.doe.gov.my/> (08/03/2010)
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