By Fatin Nabihah Marzuki
FRASER’S HILL, a verdant hill resort with a population of 1000, generates eight metric tonnes of solid waste weekly including from establishments like hotels, restaurants, schools.
Since a decade ago, the Raub District Council (RDC) has been disposing the waste at Cheroh landfill located seven hours away by road.
The landfill is located 58 kilometres away and the council has to spend RM28,000 monthly to transport the solid waste to the landfill, said Solid Waste Corporation Management (SWCorp) Technology and Research Division Assistant Director Khairul Irwan Kalid during a press tour to Fraser’s Hill, recently.
“This waste from Fraser’s Hill adds to the total of 30 metric tonnes of garbage around Raub that is also being dumped into Cheroh landfill daily,” he said.
However, the landfill covering 48,000 square metres, that equals 12 football fields, is expected to reach its maximum capacity by 2017.
“If the landfill reaches its capacity, we need to find a new landfill to accommodate the solid waste which of course will involve a huge cost,” he said.
A GREEN ALTERNATIVE BEING TRIED OUT
However, the RDC and SWCorp, together with Fraser’s Hill Development Corporation, have embarked on a proactive programme with the help of the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) in improving solid waste management, especially in reducing the waste that reaches the landfills.
JICA Malaysia senior representative Shinsaku Fukuzawa highlighted that the two-year pilot project to improve the solid waste management also called for the participation of the residents especially in the 3Rs (Reduce, Reuse, Recycle).
Since recycling awareness is very low here, it has been contributing to a large amount of unmanageable waste.
Fukuzawa added that the programme that began on December 2015 by providing training to educate the management of hotels and restaurants here in managing kitchen waste through the Bokashi method.
Bokashi is a technique that used bacteria to decompose food waste.
“The decomposed waste will then be taken to the composting center managed by JICA and SWCorp experts in Fraser’s Hill where it will be turned into fertiliser.
“The fertiliser, in the form of rice husk, could be used as soil conditioner for every plantation in this area,” he said.
During that tour, a representative at the composting center demonstrated the process of producing fertiliser from the decomposed waste.
From December 2015 until March 2016, 9,000 kilograms of food waste from commercial facilities here including from hotels and restaurants has been successfully processed.
“From this waste, we have produced 200 kg of fertiliser and we are expecting to produce more in the future while aiming to reduce the cost of managing the garbage as much as we can,” said Fukuzawa.
MAKING FRASER’S HILL A ZERO WASTE AREA
The project also in collaboration with Kitakyushu City, Japan and Alam Flora Sdn Bhd, aims to make Fraser’s Hill a ‘zero waste’ area.
Zero waste as defined by Zero Waste International Alliance is a goal in educating the society to produce, consume and recycle unwanted sources so that it could be used for others or giving back to the nature.
“Besides increasing the recycling rate here, we also want to promote Fraser’s Hill as an ecotourism resort and draw tourists,” he said.
To achieve this goal, the Japanese parties have spent about RM2 million in this project, which includes the cost of composting machine, recycling centre, specialised manpower, research and training.
JICA, an incorporated administrative agency of the Japanese government promotes international cooperation by supporting socioeconomic development, recovery and economic stability of developing countries.
As the pioneer of this green project in Malaysia, both Khairul Irwan and Fukuzawa hope these efforts will set an example to the others in saving the ecosystem besides increasing environmental awareness in the society. – Bernama